Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FUEL Better: Beans

Beans, Beans...the more you eat the more you....  J

What is a bean??
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds from the family of Fabaceae or Leguminosae. Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants and have been cultivated for 6000 years in the Americas. The whole young pods of bean plants are picked before the pods ripen and dried. 

Why makes them so special?
Beans are a cheap pantry staple that offer a load of nutritional benefits.

Reduces risk for heart disease and heart attacks
A study do at the University of Kentucky showed that in three weeks men lowered their cholesterol by 19% by eating ¾ cup of cooked beans daily. This reduces their risk of heart attack by 40%! 

Provide a major source of soluble fiber:
Soluble fiber grabs and traps bile that contains cholesterol, removing it from the body before it's absorbed.

Soluble fiber also helps create more insulin receptor sites which help prevent or manage Type II Diabetes.

High fiber helps curb your appetite leading to weight loss.  And let not forget helps you stay regular!!

Packed full of cancer preventing and fighting antioxidant:
Isoflavins, lagnins, phytic acid, sapoin and protesase inhibitors.

Beans also fill many dietary requirements:
Very high in protein
Very low in fat
Great source of fiber
32% of daily folate
9% of daily potassium needs

How can I add it to my diet?
There are many different types of beans to choose from: black beans, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, soy beans and white beans to name a few. They all have unique nutritional qualities so a variety should be eaten.

Dried vs. Canned
Dried beans offer the benefits that they are cooked fresh and without sodium. They can be sprouted which offers a whole new array of nutritional opportunities.

Canned beans offer the same health benefits without the hassle and time to soak and prepare!

Always choose organic, low sodium options when possible!!
A Few Quick Ideas:
Substitute beans for meat in your favorite chili, soup, salad or casserole recipes to make it more heart healthy, cancer fighting vegetarian dish. Add them to any dish as a nutritional bonus. Eat them as side dishes or main dishes. Blend them into dips and sauces.
Bean Myth Busters…
Myth: Beans must be soaked overnight.

Fact: Not necessarily. In a pot, cover your beans with water and bring to a boil. Transfer the pot to a 250F oven for 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the type of bean (check packaging). Remove from the oven when the beans are tender and set them aside to cool in their cooking liquid.

Myth: Salting beans toughens them.

Fact: Salt does not affect the tenderness of beans, only the flavor. A pinch of salt added during cooking seasons beans.

Myth: Freezing beans degrades the taste, texture and nutrition of beans.

Fact: Beans are one of the most freezer friendly foods available. Store cooked legumes in two cup containers, cover with some of their cooking liquid and freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Flatulent Warning:  If you are one that suffers from GI distress or flatulent from eating beans try these strategies:

Drink adequate fluids to help move the fiber through.
Soak beans in water for several hours before mixing them with other ingredients.
 Add a little vinegar to the dish after the beans are cooked. 
Try over the counter products such as Bean No.
With time your digestive track should get use to the added fiber and the symptoms should subside.

FUEL Tip: Consuming a bean based meal on a first date will hinder your flirting performance J

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