Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you… get healthy! Beans have so much nutritional value they were bound to eventually make the superfood list.
Beans are high in
- protein, and are one of the categories that constitute a “complete plant-based protein” when paired with grains, nuts, or vegetables to get all the amino acids to fill our daily protein requirements.
- fiber, and they promote gut health. Even in patients with colitis (active bowel inflammation), beans reduce inflammatory markers in the blood and improve colon health.
- antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins, which also decrease inflammation and aid our immune system in fighting disease and infection.
- magnesium, potassium, folate, iron, and zinc, which are often depleted in typical American diets.
- polyphenols which decrease bad cholesterol in the body, fighting against obesity and heart disease.
Although they can be time consuming to cook when they are dried in a bag because they need to be soaked for a bit, it is best to NOT buy canned beans because some of the nutrients, including the anthocyanins, leech out into the canned water, so be sure to use the water too when cooking the beans. There is also concern about metal particles leeching into the food of any canned products so beware—always opting for the freshest options!
Beans are a delicious side dish to any meal. I love to sauté some diced onions and tomatoes in olive oil and sea salt for some extra flavor before bringing the water to a boil and adding the beans. I also love pouring beans on top of some quinoa or brown rice with a side of green veggies like spinach or broccoli for a nice hearty, comforting meal. Yum!