February 19, 2014 by thehealthyheartcenter
Getty Images – pictured on abcnews.go.com
Beans are an incredibly versatile food that can go with almost anything! Before writing them off of your diet completely, just take a second to rethink. Coming in all different colors, textures, shapes and sizes you can add them to almost any recipe!
Why are they awesome?
Not only are they a great source of protein, making them a good meat substitute, but they also have an abundance of nutrients. Being excellent sources of fiber that are packed with vitamins and minerals, how can you miss out? They tend to be great sources of zinc and iron which are two of the most common nutrient deficiencies here in the US. From black beans to white, red, and navy there are many different options to choose from for the perfect flavor. Each kind has it’s own specialty. For example, black beans are excellent sources of folate, magnesium and iron while soybeans are excellent sources of potassium, iron and calcium.
Where can I get them?
Guess what? Beans are relatively inexpensive from .25 or less for 1 cup of dried beans to less than a dollar for a can. AND they are easily available at your local supermarket full of a wide selection. They are available bagged, frozen and canned.
What you should know.
1) Canned beans are some of the most convenient but tend to have a good amount of sodium. The good thing is all you have to do is rinse and drain them to rid them of 40% of their sodium. This will help keep your heart healthy!
2) They are good for up to 4 days after cooked and 1 year frozen! So no worries if you have leftovers. When going bad, they have a strong smell so you never have to guess if they are okay or not to eat.
3) Everyone’s thinking it. What about gas? Just by rinsing beans you significantly minimize this side effect and the more often you consume them the less trouble you will find.
4) Don’t know where to start? Just look up some recipes and you’ll find good options to try. In my chili I use kidney and great northern while my south and central american inspired dishes always have black beans and I mix it up sometimes with middle eastern inspired dishes with lentils and chickpeas. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences so you have to figure out what your taste buds like! Want something quick, easy and healthy? Topping a salad with beans adds healthy calories and substance to your dish making a more filling meal.
Whether you want to spice up your dish, pack it with more nutrients or need a meat substitute to change things up beans can be an excellent addition. Why not try something new today?