Beneficial Beans

Posted: March 20, 2019

In the Leishman Center we love to feature beans in our classes.

These mighty plant proteins are so versatile. They provide many health benefits to the diet plus come in a multitude of easy to use forms. Canned, dried, or frozen they are ready to deliver a great combination of protein and fiber to the diet.

From a cook’s perspective they are so versatile. Add to soup, bulk up tacos or meatloaf with half beans and half meat, puree for a wonderful spread for vegetables or crackers.

They are a very economical protein source plus provide fiber, a much lacking nutrient in the American diet.

This soup features dried beans but canned beans can be easily swapped out for a time saving version. Cooking beans from a dried state does take some planning but they are the most delicious and most economical version available. Dried beans and canned beans are perfect to keep on hand in the pantry, as they have a very long shelf life.

Dietician’s Note on Beans

Beans are an important part of a healthy eating plan and help with a variety of health conditions.

Colorectal cancer: The fiber in beans may reduce the risk by decreasing transit time of food in the digestive tract and/or dilute carcinogens in the colon.

Heart disease: Fiber may help prevent heart disease by helping reduce cholesterol.

Weight management: Fiber slows the speed at which food passes from the stomach to the rest of the digestive system – this can make us feel full longer. Foods that are higher in dietary fiber often are lower in calories as well.

Diabetes: Because fiber slows down how quickly food is broken down, it may help control blood sugar levels for people with diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels after meals.

Digestive issues: Fiber increases bulk in the intestinal tract and may help improve the frequency of bowel movements.

Peggy Marchini MPH, RDN, CDE