Beans: How Adding These Small Legumes To Your Diet Can Help In a Big Way

 

The diet, to be healthy, has to be mostly fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.

Joel Fuhrman

beans, legumes

Greatness is often found in simplicity. This is true in many areas and the same goes for food.

Beans may be one of the simpler foods out there, but when it comes to health benefits, they’re anything but simple.

Health Benefits

According to a study [1], these ‘simple’ foods contain important nutritional components and polyphenolic compounds, associated with health benefits. These include preventing and controlling the following chronic and degenerative diseases:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer

Here are several nutritional benefits some of these small giants pack:

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidants

Varieties

A bean goes by many names and there are many different types available. You can find a list of legumes, which “include all forms of beans and peas from the Fabaceae (or Leguminosae) botanical family,” here.

How Much?

According to the 2016 Dietary Guidelines for Americans [2] “A healthy eating pattern includes a variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups – dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other.”

Based on the study above, in 2005, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended a total of 312 cups of beans per week, 130 grams of beans and other legumes, a few times a week.

Watch Out!

Before you start loading up, you should know about some possible risks:

  • Some beans can cause migraines.
  • Fava beans can raise blood pressure, if you take a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, for depression.
  • Certain beans may interfere with vitamin absorption. Cooking them may help.
  • Some beans may trigger gout, in people suffering from the disease.

What to Do?

These risks aren’t to say that you should avoid beans altogether, rather consume them with an awareness.

Some reccomendations, for reducing side effects, include:

  • Boiling them – this softens their fiber content.
  • Drinking a lot – this helps you digest them easier.
  • Eating in moderation
  • Increasing your intake gradually

Conclusion

Beans have wonderful health benefits, but they also present potential risks. So, definitely consider adding this wonder-food to your diet, but speak to your doctor and make sure to look out for any negative effects.

How do you incorporate beans into your diet?

Please share in the comments below.

[1] Hayat, Imran, Asif Ahmad, Tariq Masud, Anwaar Ahmed, and Shaukat Bashir. “Nutritional and health perspectives of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.): an overview.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 54, no. 5 (2014): 580-592.

[2] McGuire, Shelley. “Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Washington, DC: US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, 2015.” Advances in Nutrition 7, no. 1 (2016): 202-204.

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