There are several reasons beans should be included in the diet. Here they are:
1. Taste. Beans are a staple in many parts of the world. They are included in many countries’ dishes because they have a great taste and complement many flavors.
2. Convenience. What can be simpler than opening a can of beans? That can of beans can be transformed into a dip, main dish, sandwich, soup, salad or a delicious side dish! They can be stored in the pantry till you are ready to use them. You do not have to peel, slice, chop, etc. them. Canned beans can be stored up to 12 months in their original container according to the American Dry Bean Board.
3. Cost. The cost of a can of beans ranges from about $1.00 to $1.50. The 15-16 oz. can provides about three one-half cup servings. Beans are a low cost protein.
4. Weight Management. Beans are high in fiber. Fiber provides a sense of fullness which can help reduce food cravings. A half cup of beans averages about 120 calories.
5. Heart Health. Beans provide heart-healthy amounts of folate—an essential nutrient that helps protect against heart disease. Fiber, especially soluble fiber, may reduce our risk for heart disease by helping lower cholesterol. A half cup of cooked dry beans provides about 6 grams of fiber. Beans contain no cholesterol, are fat free, and have no sodium in them unless added during canning or cooking.
6. Cancer. The folate, fiber and low glycemic index of beans also may help lower the risk of cancer.
What amount of beans should we eat to gain their health benefits?
The 2005 Dietary guildelines for Americans recommend a weekly consumpion of 3 cups of legumes for a 2,000 calorie diet. Dry beans are one of the most common types of legumes.
What can you do if dry beans give you “gas”?
Discard the soaking water when preparing dry beans from scratch and rinse beans thoroughly before cooking them. Gradually increase the amount and frequency of beans in your diet. This will give your body a chance to adjust to them.
There are several over-the-counter products that you can buy to help break down the gas producing substance in beans. As with adding all types of fiber to your diet, drink plenty of fluids and maintain regular physical activity.
Can you substitute one bean for another? For the most part, you can can substitute one bean for another.
Source: Nebraska Cooperative Extension