from Dr. Vera Tweed (NewsMax contributor) . . .
Studies have shown that beans are good for your heart because they help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Beans protect against Type 2 diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar at healthy levels and, as part of a wholesome diet, can help to reverse the disease. Teens and adults who regularly eat beans weigh less. And, the “magical fruit” lowers risk for cancer.
There’s nutritional gold in them thar beans. In addition to providing protein, fiber, iron, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, beans are a serious source of antioxidants. A researcher at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, discovered that ounce for ounce, black beans contain 10 times the antioxidants of an orange and equal the antioxidants in apples, cranberries, and grapes. In terms of antioxidant power, red, brown, yellow, and white beans rank below black ones, in that order. Antioxidants are concentrated in the skins of beans and give them color so as a general rule, the darker the bean, the higher its antioxidant content.
Although they are a plant food, beans are a key source of protein. In the USDA Food Pyramid, beans are part of the same food group as meat, poultry, and fish. One-half cup of beans contains approximately the same amount of protein as one ounce of meat.
In terms of nutritional quality, dried beans top the list but they aren’t the most convenient. Being a realist, Ritter suggests buying canned beans, preferably without salt, rinsing them before use and following this strategy:
• Choose plain canned beans, rather than baked beans with sauce.
• Replace one ounce of meat (about one-third the size of a deck of cards) with one-half cup of beans. That way, you’re substituting a therapeutic food for a less-healthful one.
• Aim to eat at least one-half cup of beans on most days; at least 3 cups per week will produce health benefits.
True, beans can lead to gas. One-half cup daily isn’t likely to cause problems, says Ritter, but it can take your body a couple of weeks to adjust to larger quantities. If necessary, Beano can help you through the transition.
10 Ways to Eat Beans
1. Add to salads
2. Eat as a snack. You can keep small pull-open cans in your desk drawer.
3. Use as a topping for a baked potato.
4. Mix with salsa.
5. Add to soups, stews, and pasta.
6. Eat as a side dish with any meal.
7. Puree in a food processor and use as a thickener for sauces, soups, and dips.
8. Make a different BLT, with beans, lettuce, and tomato in pita bread (flavor with vegetarian “bacon” bits, if you like), or add beans to any sandwich.
9. Blend into smoothies to make them thicker and richer in fiber and antioxidants.
10. Try some new recipes for bean-based main dishes instead of meat, such as vegetarian chile or shepherd’s pie.