It’s National Bean Day! The most nutrient-rich carbohydrate source, beans taste great and are healthy for you. They are high in fiber, low in calories, and offer a multitude of health benefits. Here are just a few reasons why you should up your bean intake (and not just on this momentous occasion, but every day!):
They help aid weight loss.
Beans contain lots of fiber and resistant starch, which makes them very satiating. They are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer. By adding more beans to your diet, you’ll be able to ward off unwanted food cravings, and you’ll be less likely to snack throughout the day.
They can decrease the risk of cancer.
Rich in antioxidants, beans help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. The resistant starch in beans is degraded by bacteria and forms short chain fatty acids that offer prevention against colon cancer (the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States). Consuming beans has also been linked to a decreased risk of breast cancer as well as cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, digestive tract, and kidney.
They are a good source of essential vitamins and nutrients.
According to the World Health Organization, “Iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world.” Iron is important because your body uses it to make hemoglobin--a part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen through your body. Eating beans is one way to boost your iron intake!
Beans are a good source of B vitamins that help you convert food to energy, boost good cholesterol, and reduce inflammation. They are rich in magnesium and potassium, which are good for your heart, and provide as much protein as an ounce of meat, but without the saturated fat.
They can help you manage your diabetes.
Because beans are high in fiber and are digested slowly, they help stabilize blood sugar. The fiber and resistant starch in beans also helps give them a low score on the glycemic index, so eating them is a great way to prevent, or even reverse diabetes. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., “a study on 64,000 women followed for 4 years found that high intake of legumes were associated with a 38% decreased risk of diabetes.”
Include beans in your diet every day! You can add them to salads, soups, chilis, or dips. If you need some inspiration, check out some of our favorite recipes: Black Bean and Mushroom Burger, Mexicali Salad with Fresh Salsa, Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili, Black Bean and Yam Quesadilla, Lemony Garlic Bean Hummus, Cairo Garbanzo and Vegetable Stew.