Cool Beans

For those of you searching for a lean, plant-based source of protein, beans are an excellent option! Legumes of all kinds pack in a substantial amount of fiber, most are usually low in fat, they provide complex carbohydrates, and they contain a hefty amount of protein per serving. These foods are also shelf stable, whether canned or dry, making them great to keep in storage for long periods of time. Beans also go great with so many other foods. They are an excellent addition to rice bowls, salads, casseroles, burritos, soups, and salsas. Not to mention they also make tasty dips and spreads!

Some common types of beans include black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, soybeans, lima beans, green beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, split peas, and lentils. Believe it or not, some may even consider peanuts as beans since they are technically classified as legumes.

So what exactly are the benefits of eating beans? Well for one, they are high in fiber. One cup of beans alone supplies roughly 50% of the recommended daily intake. Multiple studies have been conducted on populations who consume beans regularly as opposed to others who do not. Results have shown a difference in total body weight in both groups. Compared to other fatty protein sources, beans contain far more phytochemicals, antioxidants, and vitamins than certain meats such as pork, beef, eggs, or whole milk dairy. Minerals that are readily available in beans include potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper. Beans also serve as an excellent source of B Vitamins, specifically folate and thiamine.

With an even balance of carbs, fat, and protein, along with a goldmine of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, beans are the ultimate superfood! They can be found virtually anywhere, cost little, are easy to prepare, and taste great!

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