The Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Beans
Welcome to the world of magic beans!
Beans are a great source of nutrients and a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. Studies have shown their many health benefits, including the prevention of diseases like cancer, helping to maintain healthy weight, being high in protein, having good amounts of fiber; furthermore, there is just such a great variety of beans to eat, and they taste great too!
Beans are greatly nutritious foods. They have beneficial phytochemicals as well as antioxidant properties. In general, darker colored beans, such as those red and black in color, have stronger antioxidant properties.
Technically speaking, beans are a type of legume, which also includes foods such as peas and lentils. Beans are relatively inexpensive, and can be afforded by most. Beans are high in protein, and those who are concerned about a lack of protein in vegetarian diets can ensure adequate intake by consuming beans. Generally, a quarter cup of any type of legume has roughly the same amount of protein as an ounce of meat.
Perhaps one problem with eating beans is the intestinal gas which they seem to create. These can be tackled in three possible ways. Firstly, beans can be cooked with spices and herbs, for example cumin, garlic, fennel seeds, rosemary, lemongrass, coriander and turmeric. Using a digestive enzyme supplement may also help.
Thirdly, one could soak the beans for 12 to 15 hours before cooking. The soaking water should then be poured away, the beans rinsed and new water be added for cooking. This process helps to remove or reduce the compounds in beans which cause the intestinal gas.
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