Beans are part of the superfood family known as pulses, which also includes chick peas, lentils and dry peas. It’s commonly known that beans are good for you — but do you know how good?
As a food, beans can play a role in reducing the risks of developing some chronic conditions and diseases. Edible beans give us the richest source of vegetable protein within our food supply. They are cholesterol free and low in fat, as well as a very high source of dietary fibre. Beans are also an excellent source of energy containing complex carbohydrates as well as a host of vitamins, minerals (see the chart) and other phytonutrients.
The bean’s mix of dietary fibre and complex starches give beans an attractively low Gylcemic Index (GI). Bean-rich diets have been shown to prolong satiety. Beans have been noted to impart other health benefits in that they may help in the control of intestinal disorders (colorectal cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome) and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Beans may fight cancer. Research by Dr. Henry Thompson of the University of Colorado links bean consumption with an organism’s ability to fight the spread of cancer in rats. The study showed the more beans the rats ate, the greater their protection against cancer. While all the beans used in the research had some affect, white kidney beans (also called cannellini beans), in particular, had amazing results and inhibited the spread of the cancer by as much as 70 per cent.
Beans help control weight. Beans contain soluble fibre that slows down digestion, making you feel fuller longer. The World Health Organization recommends people increase their pulse consumption to help prevent obesity.
Beans help control diabetes. Research shows that bean consumption can be beneficial in the management of blood sugar levels. Beans are a great food choice for diabetics as they have a low glycemic index, are high in fibre, low in fat, and include slowly digestible starches.
Beans help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating beans lowers blood glucose, insulin, blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and the likelihood of obesity — all factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease if too high.
For pregnant women, beans help build a better baby. Beans contain folate (folic acid), which protects against neural tube defects and birth defects of the spine and brain, including Spina Bifida.
Beans are gluten free. For individuals dealing with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, incorporating beans into your diet is a great way to bump upFlour made from beans is 100% gluten free and provides more calcium, iron, potassium, B-vitamins and fibre than most other gluten-free flours making them ideal for managing diets for those with celiac disease.
For more tips and gluten-free recipes download “Pulses and the Gluten Free Diet” or order your copy today.