- Beans are high in isoflavones, which can help stunt the growth of breast cancer cells. Isoflavones prevent cancerous cells in the breast from taking in estrogen, which can prevent and help treat this type of cancer.
- Beans are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals from your body, which can slow the signs of aging and prevent a variety of cancers.
- Beans are high in dietary fiber, which can help prevent colon cancer
2) Beans Rate Low on the Glycemic Index The glycemic index measures the effect different foods have on blood sugar, or glucose, levels. Foods that rate high on the glycemic index raise your blood glucose levels quickly, but typically that spike in blood sugar levels doesn't last long, and when your glucose levels fall again, they could fall to levels even lower than before. If this happens too often, you put yourself at risk for conditions like diabetes and hypoglycemia.
You want to eat foods that rate low on the glycemic index. Such foods raise your blood glucose levels in a stable manner, so that you don't experience huge spikes in blood sugar, nor do your sugar levels bottom out, leaving you feeling weak and shaky. Here are some of the benefits of eating low-GI foods:
- They help you manage your weight.
- They reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- They improve your physical stamina.
- Soaking beans prior to cooking removes many of the sugars, oligosaccharides, that they contain. It's these sugars that cause the bacteria in your intestines to produce the gas commonly associated with beans. Reduce the sugars, reduce the gas.
- Drink plenty of water with your beans.
- Once you've cooked your beans, rinse them in fresh water.
- Eat beans regularly, and your digestive tract will become more accustomed to them.
- Eat softer varieties of beans, too, like string beans, wax beans and snap beans.
- Eat bean sprouts, which offer all the nutrition of beans, without the embarrassing side effects.
- 4.7 mg of calcium
- 71 mg of magnesium
- 116 mg of potassium
- 2.4 mg of omega-3 fatty acids
All legumes such as kidney, black, white and red beans, chick peas and lentils confer health benefits.
- Including beans in your diet several times a week may decrease the risk of colorectal adenomas (polyps), which may in turn lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Eating beans regularly may lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
- The Shanghai Women’s Health Study looked at the legume consumption of over 64,000 women and their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that consumption of legumes, particularly soybeans, was inversely associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes. The more legumes these women ate, the lower their risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
What You Can Do With Beans
You can buy dry beans and soak them overnight. If you buy canned beans, rinse them before using to remove some of the added sodium.
- Hummus - for a quick dip, purée a 15-ounce can of chick peas, ¼ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt with olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and a dash of paprika. Serve with toasted whole wheat pita triangles and fresh vegetables for dipping.
- Add to soups, salads, stews and chili
- Add to pasta
- Serve as a side dish