Let’s talk about BEANS. Or do they talk for themselves? (Bad joke. So sorry)
Dr Michael Greger from ‘How Not To Die’, thousands of nutritionists, scientists and I are all BIG fans of the health benefit that beans (or pulses) offer to us.
However, some people are against beans or are unsure about them.
Firstly, I noticed that nearly every nutrition recommendation has someone who speaks out against it. And they do it VERY LOUDLY.
Yes eggs, no eggs, yes oil, no oil, yes soy, no soy… and the list just goes on.
It’s then up to the individual to run off and make up their own minds by reading eye-wateringly boring scientific publications and poring over thick books written by reliable authors.
And then if they’re still confused, they just have to sit quietly for a while and come to a final decision. One cannot stay in a limbo.
So, let us say you decided to listen to me because I am nice and I have a cat. Or because I learned about this stuff for over 30 years. Plus because I’ve got no desire to make myself important by being negative about everything, like some creepy online ‘health gurus’.
Ok, so what can I bring to the table about beans?
They’ve been cultivated throughout the millennia by many ethnic groups. And many cultures still use them as one of their staples. For instance in the Middle
East, the use of lentils has been traced back as far as 6750 BC. Chickpeas, lentils and Fava Beans have been found in 4000 year old Egyptian tombs. And around 1500 BC Asia was already growing soybeans.
But this in itself doesn’t make me race off and place beans into every casserole just because our forebears ate them. After all, they also drank blood and Romans ate stuffed mice with nuts.
So I don’t blindly follow in history’s culinary footsteps just ‘because’ it’s been done for the past few thousands of years.
I do it because I learned this:
It has been proven that beans contain phytochemicals, isoflavones and phytosterols which are associated with reduced cancer risk.
They also provide the body with soluble fibre, which plays an important role in controlling blood cholesterol levels. Studies find that regular intake of about 10 grams of soluble fibre a day—the amount in about 1 cup of beans—reduces LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent.
WHOA! That’s pretty impressive, no? If you’re still concerned about your bad cholesterol levels, then read this: Beans also contain saponins and phytosterols, which also help lower cholesterol.
In addition, the fibres in beans can help balance your gut bacteria which could ease autoimmune diseases. Just look at this cool infographic I found for you at Positive Health Wellness.com:
How about this from the Physicians Committee for responsible Medicine:
Benefits: Any legume will help release short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that strengthen your intestine cells, improve absorption of micronutrients, and help with weight loss.
Background: Beans feed good gut bugs, which in turn revs up your immune system. Calorie for calorie, beans offer the most nutrition bang for your buck. They are packed with fibre, protein, folate, and B vitamins, which all play a role in regulating a healthy gut and a healthy brain.
Bonus: Researchers from Toronto just published a study in the journal ‘Obesity’ that finds beans (pulses) improve weight loss by enhancing satiety.”
So then,… what are the ‘negative’ people saying about beans? (I thought I better mention this here as well.)
Yes, some people have wind from beans. I cannot argue against that, so I shall leave this here as an unpleasant side effect. [Insert silly TOOT noise] But it appears that most people’s digestive system adapt after a few weeks and the background noise lessens.
Then some others focus on the fact that some beans, specifically soybeans, contain anti-nutrients that hinder absorption of beta-carotene, vitamins B12 and D. However, most of those anti-nutrients are killed off by heat.
Well, last time I looked, not many people are fond of eating raw beans anyway. And I overcome the possible vitamin deficiencies by taking a Vit B12 tablet and a Vitamin D3 tablet anyway.
So, have I convinced you to add some chickpeas to your casserole? Click here for a quick and easy, delicious chickpea recipe. Enjoy!
Yours in Health and Skinny Jeans,
Vegan Wellness Coach