Often referred to as “poor man’s food”, beans have rich history and culture attached to them. Ideally, they should be called “every man’s food” due to their various health benefits.
The history of beans is ancient, with illustrations of it found as early as the second century in fresco paintings. Beans are found to have been used across multiple ancient civilizations such as Aztec and Inca people, and in Egyptian, Mexican and Peruvian cultures.
Beans/legumes are from the Fabaceae family and grow to be flowering plants. The pods and capsules from these flowers contain beans. Often well known for their nutritional benefits, beans have another wonderful non-human benefit too. These plants have the amazing ability to naturally increase the nitrogen content in the soil, thus making nitrogen accessible to other plants around them. This indicates that beans don’t just grow to be healthy, delicious food, they also enrich the soil in which they grow.
Humans have been consuming beans for centuries because of their nutritional benefits. They are rich in protein, antioxidants, and folate. These nutrients aid in curing and preventing a lot of modern ailments. Below are some bean nutrition facts.
Reducing Diabetes and Glucose
Beans are rich in fiber and tend to lower blood glucose levels when consumed. In addition, they may also help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
High cholesterol poses a major risk for heart disease and heart attacks. There is evidence that a high fiber diet may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A bean-rich diet could significantly reduce various heart illnesses since it is filled with HDL (High-density lipoprotein) aka good cholesterol.
A bean-rich protein meal is often recommended to replace fat-rich animal protein to help people suffering from fatty liver. Fatty liver—accumulation of fat in the liver—usually occurs when people consume too much animal fat-rich foods.
A variety of beans, especially black beans, enhances gut health by improving intestinal barrier function and increasing the number of beneficial bacteria. This may help prevent gut-associated diseases.
Beans may be among the most weight-loss-friendly foods you can eat. They’re high in both protein and fiber, but low in calories. Protein and fiber are two of the most significant nutrients for weight loss. When a person eats beans, the fiber and healthy starches they contain can help create a feeling of fullness. So smaller portions tend to be enough.
Simple Ways to Include Beans
Following are three tried and tested ways to include beans in your diet.
- Replacing meat with beans. Stuffings in casseroles, pasta, and puff pastries can be made more healthy by adding beans instead of meat. Soups could also contain beans instead of meat chunks.
- Beans in salads. Chilled bean salads are tasty and filling. Next time, instead of croutons and meat slices add some crispy bean cakes as garnish.
- Beans and grain mixes. Adding beans to grains can turn an incomplete protein into a complete one. This is useful for people who follow a plant-based diet.
Kindly consult a doctor if you have allergies related to beans before switching to bean-filled diets.