Beans, Beans… they are good for your heart

Beans are known as the “musical fruit”. Funny, right?

Aside from inspiring humorous little sayings, Beans are healthy! They provide a wealth of healthy nutrition benefit for a very low cost. Organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Institute for Cancer Research encourage consumption of beans because of the positive health impact they provide. Some of the reported benefits of beans are listed below:

  •  Beans are very nutrient dense: They full of vitamins minerals, phytonutrients, soluble and insoluble fiber and provide relatively low calories.
  • They are an energy sustaining complex carbohydrate that digest slowly and help to keep you feeling full longer and help with weight loss as well as blood glucose control. They are an excellent source of fiber and can provide 20% daily value.
  •  Beans are a good source of gut healthy resistant starch/ prebiotics and have been shown to protect the cells that line the colon.
  • Beans are a good source of protein that is naturally low in fat. They can be low in sodium when not canned, though canned beans can be lower in sodium when rinsed before cooking.
  •  Beans are an excellent source of folate. Eating foods containing folate have been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers.

 

Although the cavemen purportedly did not eat beans, the ancient Romans did! In fact, they thought so highly of beans that prominent families took the name of beans  as family names. The family of Cicero , a Roman philosopher, orator and politician from the first century BC took their name from Cicer arietinum , the Latin word for chick pea.

 

But what about the punch line? How to deal with gas:

Gas is a byproduct of the billions of gut bacteria digesting the beans, more specifically the phytates in the outer shell of the beans. There are a few things that can be done to reduce the discomfort caused by eating beans:

  • First, start slow! Let your body adjust to higher fiber foods by introducing them to your diet a little at a time. Make sure you drink adequate fluids.
  • Soak dried beans for 12-15 hours to help reduce the phytic acid. Drain and add fresh water for cooking.
  • Chew thoroughly to optimize the effectiveness of digestive enzymes in your saliva.
  • You might try an alpha-galactosidase enzyme product like Beano.

*If you prefer to use canned beans, rinse in colander under running water before cooking to reduce sodium.

 

Beans are very user friendly! They can be used in so many ways…

Check out these links to 5 tasty bean recipes:

 

 

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I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Greensboro, North Carolina. I help people overcome nutrition obstacles and help them meet their nutrition and wellness goals.

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Hi, I’m Mona. I have been living with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) for over ten years. As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) I help others with MS to navigate the nutrition superhighway and make sustainable progress toward their unique wellness goals.

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