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Beans Are Natures Best Food Choice


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One cup of beans has 13 g of fiber. This is about half of what we need daily, and they have no saturated fat. They have the highest antioxidant content, are low cal, fill you up fast, and most usually hold you for hours. Bean eaters have 22% lower risk of obesity and are associated with people who have smaller waist sizes.

Beans contain high levels of protein, about 15 g per cup and dozens of other key nutrients such as:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

    Studies show beans are associated with reduced risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Breast and colon cancers

    It might surprise you to know red, pinto and kidney beans are the highest antioxidant food, even higher than the famous blueberries and cranberries.

    Dietary guidelines advise eating 3 cups of beans every week. Canned varieties count toward this 3 cup minimum.

    Bean Buying Tips:

  • Bagged beans, which take longer to prepare, are cheaper, however, canned varieties ready to eat are just as nutritious.
  • Look for low sodium canned beans, and then rinse beans in a colander under cold water for one minute to wash away about a quarter of the sodium
  • Look for vegetarian versions. Vegetarian refried beans reduce the saturated fat content from 16% of the daily value to zero per cup and add a bonus of 2 g of protein. Baked and refried are good choices, they are both seasoned and offer versatility to your bean regime.
  • Avoid dented or bulging cans: Small dents are alright, but if you find a really bad dented or swollen can in your cabinet, or if a can spurts liquid when opened, toss it out immediately using disposable gloves. These are signs of possible botulism. A good rule to follow is if you are ever unsure, toss it out.

    Baked beans or beans stewed in sauce on whole grain toast are a change of pace on the breakfast menu. Refried pinto and black beans in dips, burritos and dinner salads is another good way to include beans in your diet.

    Source: Sass C. Nature's Perfect Food. Prevention [serial online]. February 2008;60(3):85. Available from: MAS Ultra - School Edition, Ipswich, MA. Accessed July 31, 2008.

    Written by: Connie Limon For more helpful cooking tips, visit

    To find a variety of reprint articles visit

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