Sunday, August 12, 2012

Legumes, Legumes...

Legumes, Legumes, A Musical Fruit...

   ...And, you know the rest of the song...Anyway, here's the deal. Legumes, aka beans...we've all eaten them and we all like them, for the most part.  But what is it about beans that make them so healthy? You don't want to miss this blog entry! I'll be discussing the different types, health benefits, and how to prepare them!

   The Different Types and Some of Their Health Benefits?
-Lima: good source of manganese (which helps with metabolism); fiber 
-Pinto: vitamins and minerals; activating enzymes in the body; fiber 
-Green: good source of folates; no saturated fat; fiber
-Black: help the digestive tract; antioxidants; fiber
-Navy: low glycemic index; can help prevent cancerous tumors; fiber
-Kidney: good for diabetics; detoxifies sulfates; fiber
-White: Loaded with antioxidants; a good source of magnesium; fiber
-Garbanzo (Chickpea): vitamins and minerals; eases inflammation; fiber
And lots more!

   The Health Benefits in General?
   Certain legumes can lower cholesterol (the LDL levels - the bad ones), detoxify sulfates, and help with blood sugar. Plus, they're low in fat, high in complex carbohydrates (the good carbs), and they're a great source of protein. And, according to, "legumes provide B vitamins, which keep your nervous system healthy; folic acid, which prevents birth defects; iron, which keeps your circulatory system healthy; and calcium, which builds strong bones." Wow! I'd say legumes are pretty amazing for you, don't you think? 

But wait! You might be asking yourself...
   Are Canned Beans Okay?
   Canned beans are fine...however, they are high in sodium to keep them fresh longer (because they are processed and need to stay on the shelves). If you eat canned beans excessively, that is they could become a problem. Too much sodium can potentially lead to cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, just like dried beans, they are a great source of fiber and they are low in fat. Although I prefer dried beans because they taste fresher, canned beans in moderation are okay.

   How do You Prepare Beans?
   With dried beans, I found that this is a relatively simple way. At Fresh, the store I work at, we sell dried beans in the Bulk section and when you print out the price tag from the scale, directions are printed off on the sticker. This is what it reads: "Wash beans and drain. Cover with cold water. Discard floaters. Soak 4-8 in a cool place. Drain and add three cups of fresh water for every cup of beans. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until softer. Approx. 1 1/2 hours." Now obviously dried beans, these take a lot longer than out of the can. But trust me, they're full of nutrients with no sodium and they're simply delicious!
   With canned beans, you simply open the can and heat them up over a stove in a pan. Obviously, canned beans do not take as long.

Eat your beans, despite the...side effects... -C