Beans have so much fiber in them that it helps keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. They also help bring down blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and black beans have proven to prevent migraine headaches. Beans help in weight loss....when we are "dieting" our fat cells release a hormone called leptin...when our body realizes we are not starving it by dieting, it will release leptin into our system which decreases our appetite and speeds up our metabolism resulting in weight loss! Plant-based, low-fat foods help to keep our leptin levels high--while fatty foods, like animal products, keep our leptin levels low. Beans are only 2-3% fat which means they raise your leptin levels and reduce your appetite while causing your metabolism to work harder and faster.
Beans are loaded with nutrients our body's crave:
B vitamins: Responsible for healthy nerve and brain cells, for normal functioning of the skin, nerves and digestive system.
Calcium: For strong bones and teeth, and to keep the body more alkaline rather than acidic.
Potassium: To help prevent high blood pressure and stroke.
Folate: A B vitamin that our body doesn't produce yet dry beans are our single best source of this important vitamin which helps prevent against heat disease and cancer.
Beans are dirt cheap! There is no better bargain in the whole grocery store than beans. You can buy a bag of beans for a dollar and change--there is nothing that packs a nutritional punch like beans that are so inexpensive.
There is such a variety of beans to choose from: Chickpea, red beans, cannelii beans, kidney beans, adzuki beans, great northern beans, navy beans, peas, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, mung beans, lima beans, white beans, etc. The list goes on. And, beans are so versatile--you can throw them in soups, stews, make burgers with them, make hummus, bean chili, bean salads, dips, beans and greens, beans and pasta, beans and rice, or just eat beans such as chickpeas roasted with some cajun spices for a snack! The possibilities are endless.
There are a million recipes out there to try using beans...I'm sure you can find some that you and your family will love. To use the dry beans, just put them in a pot, cover them with 2 inches of water and let soak overnight. In the morning, drain them, put fresh water over them and cook for about 1 1/2 hours...taste them to make sure they are done....they should be soft but not mushy.
So when you go to the grocery store, pick up a couple bags of different beans to try. Here is a very simple, quick dish to make that everyone will love:
1 1/2 cups of black beans
1 1/2 cups of red beans
1 1/2 cups of white beans
1 medium chopped red onion
1 cup of frozen corn, rinsed under hot water
Cilantro, minced (optional)
Mix all ingredients, except cilantro if using, in a bowl. Pour vinaigrette over salad and combine. Sprinkle cilantro over the top of the salad when ready to serve.