“Beans, Beans, the musical/magical fruit, the more you eat the more you…”. Many families grew up hearing this lovely ditty which reinforced more of the reasoning that people tend to stay away from our lovely friend the bean. Today, the plea is to reconsider this mindset, and embrace this little “fruit” for the enormous amount of good it can provide to its consumers!
Starting out, clarification of the category in which a bean belongs to is at hand. Beans have been called fruits, they have been labeled vegetables. What are they? The answer is simply: well, it’s not that simple. They are classified as legumes, which are types of plants that produce both fruits and seeds. The long thin pod is the fruit of the plant, and the “ball” inside is the seed. Depending on the variety, we are able to consume both!
So to continue, common knowledge is that beans cause gas. The truth of the matter is… yes, yes, they do! They contain some natural sugars that our bodies cannot digest, and we do not have the enzymes needed to break these sugars down, so when the sugar gets to the colon, it ferments and produces …gas. That sounds bad, but in reality, it becomes a good issue. If bean consumption consistently continues over time, these very same, gas causing sugars, promote the growth of some healthy intestinal bacteria in the consumers colon that have been
linked to helping reduce cancer risk. There is a good deal of info out there in how to pair up beans on a menu or to cook them in ways to reduce gas formation. It’s worth checking out, considering the massive amount of health benefits that our fruity friend can offer.”
So how good is the bean for the consumer? Beans are high in protein, and can be used as a substitute for protein in a meal. They are low in fat, contain the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, and are a great source of dietary fiber. They are full of the minerals phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron and are low in sodium naturally. They have high amounts of the vitamins folate and B6 and many beans are a good provider of antioxidants. Because of the nutrient density, and low fat and cholesterol content, beans are the perfect way to positively affect health. They are linked to the contributions and benefits of battling many of the issues people are plagued with today such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancers. Although a silly song started the topic out, a reminder of the ending of that clever poem repeats to us the wisdom of its folkish author: “…the better you feel, so why not have beans for every meal!”
Recommendation: Time to look up the whole song, and serve up some beans on the weekly meal plan at home. Enjoy!