Beans, peas and lentils -- otherwise known as legumes -- are incredibly nutritious. Beans, in particular, are a clean, low-inflammatory food that are typically allergen free. They are generally cholesterol-free, contain beneficial fats and fiber, and are rich in protein, folate, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Studies have shown that beans act as carb-blockers by slowing their absorption. Traditionally, beans have been used for treating a variety of ailments and diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, urinary tract infections, ulcers, arthritis, and kidney stones. Today, beans remain a common staple of Central and South American diets. No matter where you are, it's always best to opt for fresh beans instead of the canned variety, which tend to have a higher glycemic index than their fresh counterparts. Want some interesting ways to include more beans in your diet? For dinner, try your hand at a cultural tradition of rice and beans. Consuming these two foods together creates a nutritious tag-team. The rice provides all the essential amino acids your body needs to synthesize the protein from the beans. Or, for an anytime treat, try using white bean flour to extend wheat flour and make protein-packed cookies and other baked treats.
Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. 2013.
Beans and other legumes: Types and cooking tips. The Mayo Clinic.
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