Beans are, by far, one of the healthiest foods on the planet. If you can look past the gas-producing side effects of these legumes, you’ll find that they definitely deserve a spot on your weekly menu. Here are just a few reasons why you need more beans in your life:
They Add Variety
You’d be amazed by how many different types of beans there are, each with their own distinct flavor and texture. Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, navy beans, and the list goes on! The beauty of this wide variety is that you’ll never get sick of beans. You can always change things up and keep your meals fresh. Make a Brazilian feijoada with black beans, steak and beans with navy beans, chili con carne with pinto beans, and even a three-bean soup with the beans of your choice. With so many options, you’ll always have a new flavor to try!
They’re Weight Loss-Friendly
That’s right, beans are an awesome food for a weight loss diet. First off all, they’re much lower in calories than your average animal protein. However, a recent study found that a single daily serving of legumes–including peas, beans, chickpeas, and lentils–helps to promote moderate weight loss. In the study, 21 Canadian men made one change to their exercise, lifestyle, and diet habits: they ate more beans. Just one small serving per day was enough to help them lose ¾ pounds over the course of six weeks. That may not sound like much, but remember that ALL they did was eat more beans. Imagine what would happen if you ate beans AND cut back on calories, did more exercise, and made weight loss-friendly lifestyle choices!
Have you ever tried to serve yourself a second or third bowl of beans? With just one serving, most of us are more than satisfied. This is due to the high fiber content of beans. The legumes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The insoluble fiber scrubs out your inside, while the soluble fiber soaks up sugar, cholesterol, toxins, fats, and liquid. This causes it to swell up, filling your stomach and digestive tract and delaying your hunger response.
They’re a Good Source of Fiber
Fiber plays a major role in your overall health. Insoluble fiber helps to scrub out your insides, eliminating the waste materials clinging to your intestinal walls. Soluble fiber reduces toxins, chemicals, cholesterol, and sugars, keeping your digestion steady and preventing blood sugar spikes. Adding more fiber to your life is always a good idea, and beans are an AMAZING source of both types of dietary fiber.
Animal proteins contain more saturated fat, while plant-based proteins contain mostly unsaturated fat. Beans are fairly low in fat, but you’ll find that the high fiber content makes it one of the best heart-smart foods around. The fiber will soak up cholesterol and fats, preventing them from being absorbed into your body. By reducing cholesterol levels, you prevent cardiovascular disease. Considering that CVD is the #1 killer in the world today, you can no doubt see why this is such an awesome benefit of beans.
They’re Rich in Protein
While beans may not contain as many grams of amino acids as other animal proteins, they’re still one of the best plant-based sources of the essential amino acids needed to build muscle. You’ll find that adding more beans to your diet can promote both muscle-building and weight loss. For those who are trying to get in shape, the high protein content of beans makes them a worthy addition to any menu.