Beans may help save your life!

Nutritious, affordable, and delicious. Beans are a popular staple in countries all over the world and to top it all off, they may even help save your life!

Beans are a high protein, high fiber food that has almost no fat. The USDA says that diets that include beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.  

Your risk for high blood pressure goes down, your ability to lose weight goes up, and if you have diabetes, your chances of controlling it increases all with the addition of beans to your diet. 

Not only do beans have loads of protein and fiber but they also have vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, folic acid, and potassium.  All of these nutrients are essential for the function and health of your body from your bones to your skin.

One cup of beans can provide 16 grams of lean protein. 1/2 a cup of beans can give you as much as 8% of your daily calcium needs. 480mg of potassium can be ingested through 1/2 up of beans. 264mcg of folic acid can be obtained from consuming just 1 cup of beans.  

Carbs are everywhere but complex carbs are not.  Beans are a great source of complex carbs and are low in the glycemic index meaning your blood sugar levels will stay in balance longer and you will stay full for longer. Beans also contain soluble and insoluble fiber.  Insoluble fiber helps to keep your digestive tract clean and healthy.  Soluble fiber helps to move fats, carbs, and cholesterol through the body which can also help to lower cholesterol levels.

Beans are a staple food all over the world.  In America though, the consumption of beans is very low. Why? It is partially because people just don't know enough about how to use them and how to cook them.  Plus, if you buy them dried they can take a very long time to cook.

India and Pakastan use lots of lentils in curry dishes.  Beans and corn are used daily in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America. Europeans use beans in many dishes and soups.  Where ever you go, beans are on the menu. With a few tips below you can be on your way to adding more beans to your diet in no time.

  1. If you buy your beans dry, try cooking them in a pressure cooker to reduce the time it takes to cook them.  Also, I add kombu (a sea vegetable) to my cooking beans because it helps to soften the beans and make them easier to digest.  Plus, kombu adds more trace minerals!
  2. If you buy canned beans, look for the eden brand.  Eden makes an effort to line their cans so no extra chemicals are seeping into the food in the can and they cook their beans with kombu.
  3. Try a variety of beans.  There are more beans than you may know.  Try them all out and google a recipe if you find one you don't know how to use.  I have learned many simple bean dishes this way. The best way to find new ones is to go to your local Asian market. 
  4. The smaller the bean is, the easier it is to digest.  For many people, beans can lead to gas and bloating because their bodies are not used to digesting them.  When you start with smaller beans such as lentils, mung beans, and adzuki beans you will notice less of those smelly side effects.  If it still gets to your digestive system then try adding some digestive enzymes with your meal for a little while until your body knows how to handle it better.

If beans give you flatulence, it’s because they have complex sugars that are hard to break down. But here’s great news…

There are three ways to break down these sugars *before* making your bean recipe…

1) Soak beans overnight in a large bowl or pot, then pour off soaking water. Add fresh water and cook as usual. Soaking overnight begins bean germination and promotes enzyme release. The germination process breaks down the complex bean sugars.

2) Several hours before making your recipe, submerge beans in plenty of water and bring them to a boil for two minutes. Next, remove from heat and let the beans soak for 2-6 hours. Then pour off the “soak water” and cook as usual with fresh water.

3) Sprout the beans before cooking them. We detail this approach in Lesson 20 of The Vegetarian Mastery Program.

If you have any great bean stories for us please do share!  And always remember to tell us what you like about this post so we can give you more of what you want.  Have a great bean adventure.

4 Comment(s)

  1. Thanks for this great article on the greatness of beans.  I try to eat fruits and vegis raw, some soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds,  as much as possible.  I have been sprouting my adzuki beans to add some crunch and nutrients to my evening salad.  I have read that beans are bad, even poisonous  to eat "raw" and tho they are sprouted, they are not cooked.  
    I would like to sprout other beans and eat "raw" but can't find any info to corroborate or dispel this notion. Do you have a site I can look up or do you know if it is true. Thank you in advance. Lynn

    LynnCS | Reply

  2. Thanks for the article of beans.
    I normally soak my beans for a 6 hours then boil .When they are almost cooked I add a little sodium bicarbonate and stir.Once the beans are ready I drain the water and then wash them under running water until the water is clear.Then I can fry them after that.

    Hellen | Reply

  3. Soak beans for 24 hours in fresh (non-chlorinated, non-fluoridated) water with a small amount of salt.  Skim occasionally and change the water after 12 hours.  Cook beans slowly, low heat for at least 8 hours.  Add seasonings during last hour of cooking.  No gas!  Beans can be used in salads.  
    Watch the sprouting process.  Change water daily, and rinse beans thoroughly.  The beans themselves are not harmful.  Constant moisture can promote the growth of contaminating bacteria (that you have in your kitchen).  Look at  

    Elise Johnston | Reply

  4. Thanks for this generous information !   I havent heard of kombu or adzuki beans here in South Africa… but we do have a lot of Asian people here in Durban,  so I will look further !   We do have the small white beans known as haricot beans.  And Im going to try them out.     How right you are about the bloating after eating beans !   I stopped eating them – they were the speckled brown beans,, or sugar beans somtimes called.      Now I have more postitive encouragement.!    Its funny that just today I looked at dried beans,  and sighed ,, thinking  I can t have beans,   they dont agree with me !      So  your article was meant for me I believe !    I will cook the small ones first and also  enjoy their health benefits !    

    Carol Mast-Ingle | Reply

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