Beans are ancient! They are a super-food loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They have a negligible amount of fat, and have most of the essential amino acids, making them high in protein. In fact, when beans are combined with a whole-grain complex carbohydrate, a complete protein is born.
Beans contain an abundance of soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High-fiber foods also promote regularity by preventing constipation.
Beans help to balance blood sugar levels. They are digested slowly, and thus are low on the glycemic index. They are wholesome and hearty, so they will also help you to stay feeling full for longer helping curtail fatigue or irritability.
Diets rich in beans are touted with lowering risk of chronic disease, including cancer.
So how do we make them a part of our daily routine? Try beans as a snack (dip or soup), appetizer (beans and rice) or meal (chili, fajita, burritos). There are so many beans to choose from, in a rainbow of colors and textures:
Garbanzo beans (chick pea)
Great northern bean
Red kidney beans
Lentils, legumes, and peas have many of the same benefits as beans
I love dipping jicama or sugar snap peas in hummus for a snack. For a meal, I might fill a whole grain pita with a layer of hummus and a handful of fresh veggies. Following is a fool-proof, basic recipe.
– 2 cups garbanzo beans (canned and rinsed or cooked well and drained)
– ½ cup tahini
– ¼ cup olive oil
– 3 large cloves of garlic
– Juice of 2 lemons
– 1 tablespoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon salt
– ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Put it all in the food processor. Blend and add water and to your desired thickness.
– Add roasted red pepper or marinated beets for a punch of color.
– For a Mexican treat, use red beans. Chop and top with chipotle peppers, cilantro, and avocado, and use corn chips to dip.
– For a Mediterranean version, use chickpeas. Chop and top with kalamata olives. Drizzle with tahini and use garlicky pita chips to dip.
– For a Latin version, use black beans. Drizzle with mojo. For dipping use banana chips.
– For an oriental twist, use edamame. For dipping use rice cakes.
– And if you’re feeling adventuresome, vegetarian chopped liver- fresh peas, string beans, walnuts, hard-boiled egg and sautéed onions. Blend. Lavosh crackers for dipping, but of course!
…oooh so eat your beans at every meal!
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