Known as nutritional “powerhouses,” there are so many reasons to celebrate beans! Beans are low in fat and high in fiber and protein and also serve as good sources of folate, calcium and iron. Beans fit under not one but two food groups: vegetables and meat/protein. Nutritionally higher in carbohydrates than non-starchy vegetables, beans also count towards the goal of getting 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Benefits of Beans
Weight: Beans promote a healthy weight because of their high protein and high fiber content. Fiber creates a feeling of fullness that keeps you satisfied from one meal to the next. Depending on the variety, a half cup of cooked dry beans has about 120 calories, 7-8 grams protein and about 6 grams fiber. Check out the nutrient profiles for several beans in the table listed.
Reduce risk of disease: Research has shown that eating just a half a cup of beans several times a week helps reduce your risk of heart disease. There are also correlations between eating beans and reducing risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
How to Fit Beans into Your Routine
- Pick a meatless meal (like the popular Meatless Mondays) for the week and use beans for your protein.
- Buy frozen, dry or canned beans- they are all healthy! Rinse canned beans to reduce sodium by almost 40 percent.
- Reduce gas-producing side effects with the following tips. If you are cooking dry beans, discard the soaking water and rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking. Take Beano, an over-the-counter gas remedy, prior to eating your first bite.
- Kidney beans are great for chili and three-bean salad.
- Pinto beans can be refried for dips or served as side dish. They are also popular in stews. You can buy fat-free refried beans for a healthier option.
- Navy beans are perfect in soups, stews, or baked beans.
- Lentils are great in soups and stews.
- Garbanzo beans can be tossed into salads or used to make hummus dip.
Nutrient Profiles of Various Dried Beans: (Per ½ cup serving)
|Baby Lima||Black Beans||Black-eyed Peas||Baby Lima Beans||Pinto Beans||Red Kidney Beans|
|Calories||114 calories||100 calories||115 calories||118 calories||109 calories|
You really can’t go wrong with any type of beans. Try incorporating these little gems into your routine and you will reap all the potential health benefits. Set a goal; aim to eat beans 4 times a week!
For information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services call 972.560.2655 or visit cooperclinicnutrition.com.