When it comes to pantry staples, beans are pretty hard to beat. Since 2016, the United Nations has been encouraging the world to eat more of them, along with the rest of the pulse family (aka dried beans, peas, and lentils). Why? They’re good for your health and good for the planet, too!
These Humble Heroes Pack a Serious Nutritional Punch
Loaded with gut-friendly fiber, they’re a wonderful way to show your belly some love by feeding the good bugs in your gut. And since your immunity begins in your gut, we know that by nurturing these trillions of microorganisms, in return, they’ll act as your first line of defense against invading bad bugs. Beans are also a great source of plant protein and rich in nutrients like iron and zinc, which play a vital role in immunity, and potassium, which can help you beat high blood pressure. Plus, their low glycemic index can help to control blood glucose levels and potentially fend off sugar cravings.
A Half-Cup Habit
Aiming to include half a cup of dry peas, beans, lentils, or chickpeas three times a week, instead of red meat, can reduce inflammation and lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. And a recent study confirms eating just a little bit more—about ¾ of a cup a day—can contribute to weight loss.
Which is Better: Dried or Canned?
Dried varieties are the healthiest and most cost-effective way to get more legumes on your plate, although they do require a little more effort to prepare. Simply soak them in cold water overnight. Or, for a quick fix, throw them in a pot, cover them with water, bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove from heat, put a lid on the pot, and allow to sit for an hour, before continuing with your recipe. A pressure cooker cuts that time to about 25 minutes. Or you can cheat and buy canned versions; just be sure to buy no or low-sodium varieties, or give the regular varieties a good rinse to get rid of the brine water, which is full of salt.
Here are 13 ways to cook with beans:
- Stuffed Peppers with Beans & Corn
- Veggie Burgers with Sweet Potato, Black Beans & Quinoa
- Quinoa Bowl with Black Beans, Mango & Avocado
- Bison Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Black Beans
- Quinoa-Crusted Chicken With Black Bean & Corn Salad
- Veggie Breakfast Burritos
- Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Sweet Potato Chili Fries
- Grain Bowls with Grilled Summer Vegetables
- Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup with Spring Veggies
- Healthy Recipe: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Beans & Greens
- Green Minestrone Soup With Parmesan & Fresh Dill
- Chocolate brownies
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.