Did you know today (January 6) is Bean Day?

Beans are such an amazing food they are certainly worth celebrating!

The bean or legume family has over 13,000 varieties around the world and are some of the most nutrient dense foods. Bean are a large part of the human diet in many parts of the world, especially Latin, Asia and Mediterranean countries. The annual world production of legumes, excluding soy, is more than 79 million tons a year; and over 100 million metric tons of soy is produced, however, a large percentage of soy is used as animal feed.

Beans are high in protein with very little fat and no cholesterol and are a very economical source of protein compared to meat. If beans were raised on one acre of land it would yield seven times more calories and protein than if it were used to raise livestock for meat or milk.

Hippocrates said our food should be our medicine. Why should we eat beans as medicine?

 

Regular consumption of beans have been shown to:

  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels with their high fiber content and phytochemicals.
  • Help prevent and treat diabetes due in part to their low glycemic index (do not raise the blood glucose level much) and lower the need for insulin.
  • Promote proper bowl function and prevent and treat constipation.
  • Lower blood pressure levels (if large amounts of salt are not added) due to the high level of potassium and low sodium levels.
  • Are a good source of iron and help combat iron-deficiency anemia. They are also a good source for copper, zinc and other race elements.
  • Lower the risk of gallstone because they promote the elimination of bile salts.

Reduce the risk of colon cancer due to the high fiber content. Fiber “sweeps up and cleans out” the colon, so the waste is eliminated preventing it from staying and decaying in the colon too long.

 

Are there drawbacks to beans?

As I write this I can almost hear you yelling “YES! Beans, Beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot”… And you are right! It is a very well-known fact that beans create extra flatulence or gas.

There are three things you can to do help lower the flatulence effect:

Soaking the beans 8-12 hours, changing the water twice during that time.
Remove the skins (good luck with this one!)
Take a pharmaceutical preparation such as Beano.
It is also true the more frequently you eat beans the better your body adjusts, and in most people, the gas will lessen over time. So the good news about beans is “the more you eat the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal!”

Enjoy some beans today on Bean Day and Every Day!

Here is a Recipe for a cold day in January to get you started!

Click here for the Recipe for In a Hurry Chili!

 

Food Facts from the Encyclopedia of Foods and their healing power, vol 1. 2006: R&H, Hagertown, MD.