Beans are Protein Machines
All the Health Packed in a Simple Source
Benefits, Goodness and Health
Beans usually get a bad rap due to the flatulence (aka. cutting the cheese) and how they can be generally considered as "tasteless".
With health promotion and veganism becoming more prominent in the current day, everyone's trying to find a way to promote their lifestyle. Cutting down eating meat and seafood and increasing other sources of protein is gaining a ton of traction and beans could be making it to the limelight!
What are beans good for?
- Digestion: They are full of fibre (unlike their meat counterparts) and allow for food to pass through smoothly and without blockage through our digestive systems.
- Keeping satiated: The high protein and fibre content allow for this. Eating beans means you won't be stuffing your face with empty calories in the near future as they keep you full and release energy slowly.
- Regulation of blood sugar: Beans are low in simple sugars to keep that glycemic index in check. This adequately prevents extreme releases of insulin after a meal.
- Lower bad (LDL) Cholesterol: Protein counterparts such as beef and chicken are fused with the fat found in the animal that it needed to survive. Though beans do have fat content, it is incredibly miniscule. This means you can get all the benefits of protein but lose the harm of fat and related cardiovascular disease.
- Source of potassium, folate and magnesium and iron
- Good source of B vitamins
- Being on a budget: Beans are such money savers. Ground beef sits around $3/pound, chicken breasts around $3.40 a pound, and beans are easily found for less than $1/pound.
So what does this mean? Does eating beans mean it's the miracle food that will solve diabetes, hypertension and cancer? Will it allow me to feel youthful and full of energy again? Well, potentially. But the short answer is no. Like all food out there, there is no such thing as a miracle food or a diet that fits everyone. You have to include healthy life habits with changes in eating less healthy foods. For example, a burger made of beans has all the good macronutrients (ie, protein) as a beef burger, but without the fat, cholesterol and potentially harmful indigestible chemicals. Everyone can slowly substitute their food to make healthier choices and smarter decisions. Compliance to healthy changes can lead to a better lifestyle and better formation of relationships.
What about the tastelessness? Have you tried just eating meat without seasoning? It's not very tasty either. Sure, you may have to learn a bit of "chemistry" by determining proportions of herbs and spices when cooking with beans, but it's not difficult with all the sources available on the internet. Cooking beans in salt and adding some curry spice is delicious for a quick chickpea meal! It's all about experimentation too so don't be afraid to try. Bean soups, bean burgers, hummus and even bean brownies may soon make it as one of your favourite meals.
Peanuts and legumes and not a nut.
For those of you interested in weight loss, researchers from St. Micheal's Hospital to put to the test the usefulness of beans in the diet. They performed a meta-analysis of 21 clinical trials involving in total, almost a thousand men and woman. Their results showed that eating 3/4 cups of pulses and legumes each day led to a decrease of almost one pound (0.34kg) over a period of 6 weeks. Doesn't sound too exciting? Well, the beans were eaten in addition to whatever was in their previous diet so that's saying more than we may think. Weight isn't as simple as a direct correlation to the number of calories as we see an overall trend in weight loss as more calories are being taken in. This may suggest that completely substituting meats for beans may lead to significantly more weight loss if that is the intended goal. It also won't make you feel weak or hungry in the long run. Just remember, you may need to supplement with B12 as that's a source in animal products but not plants. That's because B12 is synthesized by bacteria, which resides in meats and eggs.
For those of you who would rather hear some reasons to eat beans (rather than just reading them), below is a short video summarizing 5 of the many benefits of beans when added to one's diet.