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Add Beans To Your Diet For Amazing Health Benefits

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The health benefits of beans are not well-known

Beans are generally extremely underrated with regard to their nutritional and mineral values that have a myriad health benefits. From the days of the American civil war, through two world wars – right up to the present day, beans have formed part of a soldier’s rations. In bygone days, beans were often mixed with pork or bully beef for some animal fat and extra protein.

Medical personnel of the day had begun to realise, what is well-known today, that beans are nutritional and helped to keep soldiers in the field healthy.

Beans are the largest part of the legume family, which include among others, peas, lentils, peanuts, soy beans, and also alfalfa. They are an inexpensive source of protein, fibre, and vitamins, which offer many health benefits. Studies have shown that there are so many varieties of beans that you can actually be spoilt for choice. It may take a little time to see which beans are suited to individual tastes, but beans can be added to soups, salads, casseroles, and meat dishes to for an interesting taste experience.

Some of the more popular varieties of beans include:

  • Lima beans.
  • Black beans and soybeans.
  • Kidney beans and cranberry beans.
  • Cannellini Beans.

Health experts agree that most beans need to be cooked in case some are not safe to be eaten raw.

A basic nutritional profile of all beans

Most beans have very similar health-promoting benefits, and are especially high in antioxidants, low in fat, and contain no cholesterol.

Trace minerals in beans essential for good health include zinc, manganese, magnesium, and iron. Beans are also very high in B vitamins like B1 (thiamine) needed to help metabolize food into energy and B9 – which is folate, necessary for forming DNA, and also helps to prevent certain kinds of birth defects.

Beans contain a high amount of vegetable proteins, which are actually not complete proteins on their own. This means that they lack a certain amino acid that you can only get from meat, fish, poultry and dairy products. It is important to note that if you combine eating beans with any meat, fish or poultry dishes, as well as dairy products such as milk, cheese or yogurt – the beans immediately become a complete protein which is needed by the body.

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Some of the health benefits on offer from beans

By adding beans to your diet, you can expect the following health benefits.

  • Beans are high in amino acids which play a major role in the formation of protein in the body. Proteins have a key role in almost every function of the body. Research has shown that of all the varieties of beans, only soybeans contain all 9 amino acids, but studies have revealed – for example, you can have beans at lunch and cheese later, which will give you the complete protein you need for good health. Beans also make an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Strict vegetarians or absolute vegans can take natural supplements to ensure they get complete proteins in their diets.
  • Vitamin B. Beans contain several nutrients and vitamins, especially the B vitamin B9 also known as folate, and B1 – known as thiamine. A lack of these particular B vitamins may cause weakness, fatigue, heart palpitations, a loss of appetite, and irritability. Vitamin B9 is also needed for good DNA, and preventing certain genetic birth defects.
  • Free radicals which rampage around in the body damaging organs are effectively controlled and eliminated by antioxidants, which are prolific in beans. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities in beans also help to slow down the aging process, and prevent cancer.
  • Heart health. A detailed analysis of previous studies done in 2013 found a clear connection between eating beans and a reduced risk of cardiovascular and heart disease.
  • Diabetes and high blood sugar. Beans are known to stabilise blood sugar levels and may prevent the onset of early diabetes. The high fiber content can also help to lower high blood sugar.
  • Soybeans support the healthy functioning of the pancreas cells, which assists the pancreas to effectively produce insulin that regulates blood sugar.
  • Appetite control. The very high fibre content and healthy vegetable starches in beans make you feel full after eating, and may curb overeating, and subsequently even help with weight loss.
  • Gut health. A healthy gut depends on certain healthy bacteria. Research has indicated that a variety of beans, particularly black beans, improve gut health by increasing the amount of healthy bacteria in the intestines. A healthy gut promotes the absorption of nutrients and minerals by the small intestine for the body’s good health.
  • Trace minerals. Beans have high levels of minerals which are necessary for good health. Included are minerals such as calcium, needed for healthy bones and blood clotting, magnesium for muscle and nerve function, and iron to prevent anaemia and promote the formation of red blood cells.
  • Omega 3. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which is abundantly available in beans. Omega 3 promotes heart health, healthy blood circulation, and controls high blood pressure.

Studies and research have indeed provided evidence that beans are among the most nutrient-dense foods available in nature.

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Safety tips for eating beans

Beans do not have any side effects, but there are a couple of factors to note when eating beans:

  • Make sure that you are not allergic to beans or other legumes. Bear in mind that if you are allergic to one type of bean, then you are more than likely to be allergic to others. Peanuts which are part of the legume family, are common allergens – as are soybeans. It would be better to avoid beans if you are prone to allergies, or perhaps consider allergy-testing.
  • Always cook beans before eating. Some beans contain a certain protein known as lectin which interfere with digestion, and may cause food poisoning. When beans are cooked, lectin is destroyed, and beans can be safely eaten.
  • Some folk suffer gas or a little intestinal disturbance when eating beans. This is not dangerous, and a digestive enzyme bought over-the-counter will help tremendously.

Adding beans to your diet will help you to get healthy and keep healthy – all due to the amazing health benefits of the humble bean.

References:

www.beaninstitute.com

www.nytimes.com