How Healthy Are Beans?
Beans may be little, but they’re nutritional powerhouses. Packed with plant-based protein and loaded with filling fiber, beans make the ideal addition to any diet. And that’s really only just the beginning of many incredible benefits eating legumes can have for you. Just how healthy are beans? Let’s take a look.
What are beans?
Beans are actually seeds and are also a type of legume. They are native to South and Central America and have been harvested there for many thousands of years. Of course, today beans are something people from all corners of the earth enjoy. In the US, the most popular beans include kidney, black, pinto, navy and fava beans.
What makes beans so healthy?
While each type of bean features its own unique nutritional profile, most are high in fiber and protein, contain high levels of potassium, iron and a plethora of good vitamins. They are also very low in fat. With so much healthy goodness packed into such tiny little morsels, it’s no wonder why beans are a highly recommended food.
Specific Health Benefits of Eating Beans
Still not convinced that beans are where it’s at? Perhaps these four key benefits will help change your mind.
Beans fill you up. Watching your waistline? Eating healthier doesn’t have to involve a constant feeling of hunger – provided you add beans into the mix. Because legumes are such a great source of natural fiber, they make you feel fuller for longer, which means you’ll have no problem fighting off those cravings. Getting fit is better for your body, and beans can help get you there.
Beans can help with cholesterol. Because beans contain a lot of soluble fiber, studies have shown that they can aid in controlling cholesterol levels. They can also help reduce inflammation. Lower bad cholesterol and inflammation is also good news for your heart. And all that fiber is also good for another thing: digestion. In other words, beans help your body work better.
Beans give your body fuel and energy. As mentioned, beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. This protein is important to help provide the body with fuel to burn. As a result, when you incorporate more legumes into your diet, you should begin to notice a higher level of natural energy. If you’re a vegetarian, vegan or someone who simply doesn’t eat much meat, poultry or fish, beans are a great alternative source of protein.
Beans are packed with other valuable nutrients. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans indicates that most of us aren’t getting enough nutrients in our diet. Beans can help make up the difference, providing ample supply of everything from antioxidants to vitamins and minerals. If you’re looking for a way to round out your plate, grab another scoop of beans.
What can you do with beans?
So, now that you know how awesome legumes are for your health, the next step is figuring out just how to get more of them into your diet. Thankfully, in addition to their amazing health benefits, beans are also convenient, wallet-friendly and super versatile. There are nearly endless ways you can prepare and enjoy beans. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Add them to soups, salads, stews or chili
- Stir them into pasta
- Serve them as a hearty side dish
- Make some homemade hummus
You can even use beans in dips and desserts. (Check out our full array of bean-based recipes.)
As you can see, beans are more than just little nuggets. They’re a modern-day super food. Are you taking advantage? Serve some up today and unleash the nutritional powerhouse in your life.