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Bean Bonanza: The Scoop on Bean Benefits

Beans are one member of the legume family that also consists of peas, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts. Calorie for calorie, beans offer a whole host of health benefits with a large array of nutrient profiles, tastes, textures and uses.

Weight Loss:

  • Beans pack fiber and protein, two of the most critical nutrients to promote weight loss as they improve feelings of fullness.
  • One study found a high fiber diet containing beans not only reduced feelings of hunger, but subjects also lost an average of 3 pounds in 4 weeks.
  • Another study found an association with bean consumption and lower body weight, less belly fat and overall improved nutrition.

Heart Health:

  • Consuming beans and other legumes regularly may reduce risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.
  • A 26 study review concluded that a diet rich in legumes can significantly reduce risk factors for heart disease such as inflammation, LDL “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as increase HDL “good” cholesterol.

Fight Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Fiber facilitates slower digestion and more stable blood sugar levels, which is important for diabetes management.
  • Numerous controlled trials found that blood sugars, insulin and triglyceride levels decreased significantly in diabetics who substituted beans for red meat.

To receive these benefits from beans, try out this white bean soup recipe provided by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services Registered Dietitian Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD.


White Bean Soup

Serves: 8; Serving Size: 1 generous Cup176597342 white beans



  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Cup salsa verde (Arriba green salsa is excellent)
  • 1-14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1-14 oz. can no sodium chicken broth (just about 2 cups)
  • 2- 15.5 oz. cans cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 3 Tbsp. scallions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped (as garnish) or use even more and stir into soup just before serving.



  1. Add oil to a large soup pot. Sauté onion and garlic until transparent.
  2. Add remaining six ingredients. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes. Add scallions and cook another 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in lime juice and garnish with cilantro.


Nutritional Analysis

Calories: 120

Sodium: 379 mg

Fat: 1 g

Fiber: 6 g

Saturated Fat: 0 g

Carbohydrates: 24 g

Protein: 7 g

Cholesterol: 0m g


Dietitian Tip:  Sauté 1 pound diced boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a non-stick pan.  Add cooked chicken to above ingredients and simmer. (You may want to purchase cooked chicken from the grocery store such as a rotisserie chicken, to save time. Remove skin and visible fat .The white meat (breast and wing) is lower in calories and fat than dark meat (thigh and leg).)

Additionally you can include diced red and yellow bell peppers to increase the yield and add more positive nutrients while cutting calories.


Article provided by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Registered Dietitian, Gillian Gatewood, RDN, LD, CNSC.



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