Calling all lovers of beans! I’ve done a poll- most people either hate beans or love them although the group who tolerate them is growing. Why? Because for cost and the phenomenal health benefits you just can’t beat beans!
Where did this SuperFood come from? The domestication history of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is vital to understanding the origins of farming. Beans are one of the “three sisters” of traditional agricultural cropping methods reported by European colonists in North America. Native Americans wisely intercropped maize, squash, and beans, providing a healthful and environmentally sound way of capitalizing on their various characteristics.
Beans are today one of the most important domestic legumes in the world, because of their high concentrations of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. The global harvest today has been estimated at ~18.7 million tons and it is grown in nearly 150 countries on an estimated 27.7 million acres. White beans such as cannellini, kidney and navy are loaded with even more cancer-fighting dietary fiber than healthy red beans. By eating these fiber-rich superfoods, you can reduce the risk of many cancers and other potential killers, including brain aneurysms. These legumes are also loaded with flavonoids and other phytochemicals that slow cancer cell growth and decrease chronic inflammation.
By cooking white beans or other legumes, you increase their resistant starch levels, which act similar to fiber by helping the colon eliminate damaged cells that could lead to cancer. In one study, increasing fiber intake by 10 g per day helped reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 10%.
Is this making you love beans? If you’re not there yet, try this. Rich in slow-digesting carbohydrates, protein and fiber, beans — including white beans — are considered a low GI food. The glycemic index, or GI, is a numerical index that ranks foods based upon their predicted impact on blood sugar levels. You want to digest slowly causing a gradual rise in blood sugar vs a spike. In addition to their gentle effect on blood sugar levels, white beans may provide weight loss benefits due their ability to produce alpha-amylase inhibitors. Alpha-amylase inhibitors are known to slow the absorption of carbohydrates and thus the storage of energy as body fat. How could you not love beans by now!
White beans offer a generous quantity of magnesium. Magnesium is an important macromineral that performs a number of key functions in the body. Most of us have heard that before, but few of us are aware of the exact health benefits magnesium offers, so here’s a summary: Magnesium maintains the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes, and it helps you handle stress better. It is also necessary for healthy bones. They also deliver a hefty supply of antioxidants, substances that fight off disease and help maintain optimum health. Antioxidants are believed to protect the cells in your body from free radicals, unstable molecules that damage cells and can result in many chronic conditions and degenerative diseases including certain types of cancer, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, arthritis, heart disease, immune system problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
And last, if all this hasn’t won you over to our team, let me appeal to your vanity. In addition to fighting wrinkles by providing skin-protecting antioxidants, white beans provide zinc, copper, and protein which can also help fight premature wrinkling of the skin. They make you beautiful inside and out!
You are in luck!
This week you can have a taste of this amazing superfood by trying our White Bean & Greens Soup with Turkey or Turkey Chili with Beans.
Happy Healthy Eating!