Healthy Food – Adding Beans as One of Your Dietary Super Foods

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The ILEAD Company® welcomes you to Fitness Friday. On Fridays, I will educate you on becoming mentally sound and physically fit. Consistent nutrition and fitness is influential! It really makes a huge difference to lead people AND be in great health. 

We have been chatting about super foods during the last few Fridays and I will continue with this trend because it is helpful for many people AND hopefully for you as well. (Let me know in the comments area below this message today if it is.) There is a super food that most people eat during cook outs but can be implemented in a  variety ways into our diets and is SUPER healthy — BEANS!

Healthy Food – Adding Beans as One of Your Dietary Super Foods

Beans provide a great alternative to meat, since they’re a low-fat source of protein. One cup of lentils provides 17 grams of protein with only 0.75 grams of fat. In fact, the American Cancer Society recommended in their 1996 dietary guidelines that Americans should “choose beans as an alternative to meat.”

What can beans provide your body with?

Aside from being a great source of protein, beans are a delicious source of the following:

  • fibre,
  • B vitamins,
  • iron,
  • folate,
  • potassium,
  • magnesium, and
  • many phytonutrients.

Beans should be eaten on a regular basis to promote optimal health. It’s recommended that you should eat four ½ cup servings of beans per week.

Beans are a superb heart healthy food. Eating beans frequently is associated with lower cholesterol levels. Beans, like all other plant-derived sources of protein, don’t contain any saturated fat, and therefore are also cholesterol free. Thus, if you limit your saturated fat intake by reducing the amount of meat you eat and substitute beans and other plant protein sources for meat in your regular diet, you’ll be well on your way to reducing your blood cholesterol levels and improving your overall health.

What do studies say about beans?

Research studies have shown that folate plays a critical role in the reduction of homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a compound that damages the blood vessel walls when it accumulates in the body. Folate helps to reduce this damaging effect by neutralizing the homocysteine molecules. Data show that between 20 to 40 percent of coronary artery disease patients have elevated levels of homocysteine in their bodies.

Beans deliver a potent combination of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This combination of electrolytes is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and hypertension.

When it comes to controlling blood sugar, it’s the plentiful amount of soluble fibre in beans that seems to be nutrient of note. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia, or diabetes, adding beans to your regular diet can be very helpful in controlling your blood sugar. The soluble fibre in beans provides a slow burning and long-lasting source of energy, consisting of complex carbohydrates and proteins for your body to use.

Since these macronutrients take longer for your body to break down, blood sugar levels remain stabilized. When blood sugar is stabilized your body doesn’t need to release as much insulin to control the glucose in the blood. This is crucial for diabetic patients, as they, especially, need to control their blood glucose and insulin levels in order to maintain their health.

As previously noted, beans are a rich source of fiber. Fiber adds a great deal of bulk to foods without adding a lot of calories. This is because fibre can easily be digested by our digestive systems. The benefit of the above is that foods such as beans that are bulky in nature make you feel full without adding calories.

Scientific research suggests that beans may help to prevent certain types of cancer, including:

  1. Pancreatic cancer
  2. Colon cancer
  3. Breast Cancer and 
  4. Prostate Cancer

Beans contain both lignans and phytates which seem to be the major contributors to the cancer fighting effects of this super food. Lignans are antioxidants that support the immune system. Lignan benefits include better hormone balance, improved cardiovascular health, and menopause support. Phytoestrogens (which are lignans) are estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to a reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer. And phytates are compounds that have been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of intestinal cancer.

What is the significance of beans and their different colors?

Try to eat a variety of beans, as different bean colors mean that different polyphenols are present. These phytonutrients have antioxidant properties and help to fight against free radicals.

So, are you ready to add beans to your diet; perhaps even making a main dish comprised of beans? I hope so. I would love to see reap the rewards of doing it. I share details about beans on FB as well as during an Internet night show at 9p.m. EST. Be sure to hop on the phone or computer to listen in. 

Cheers to you and your health journey!