Beans, beans. They’re good for your heart.
The more you eat, the more you…
Sure, you’ve probably laughed at the ending to this classic song, but have you ever stopped to consider the beginning?
Beans may not get all of the glitz and glamor of a grass-fed steak. I doubt the new trending restaurant will brag about its “Juicy triple-decker bean burgers”, but the truth is that these powerful plants are worth bragging about. One modern bean-backer is Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution. His travels around the world uncovered key “Blue Zones”, where the locals live to be 100 years old, simply because of common lifestyle traits. From Okinawa to Sardinia, one consistency that stood out was beans and lentils every day. It might take a month for one of these centenarians to consume a pound of meat. Rather, the bulk of their diet is fueled by beans, lentils, and mostly plants.
The nutrition behind beans supports these anecdotal findings. Beans are loaded with protein, iron, and B vitamins, a lot of the excuses we credit for our “need” for meat. Meat packs saturated fat and cholesterol, two huge culprits in heart disease. Conversely, beans pack fiber, a huge powerhouse in lowering cholesterol. In fact, the extra folate and magnesium in beans has also been shown to lower heart disease. And just from a calorie/weight-loss perspective, it is hard to overeat on beans. You can probably polish off a typical 8-oz burger without a problem. That’s the average size for a restaurant burger and it’ll pack on about 480 calories, before you add the bun, the cheese, and the side of fries. 1 cup of red kidney beans (a little more than 8 ounces) only packs about 200 calories. Just try doing a Double Patty version of that. Your stomach will probably stop you half-way through.
The song rings true. Beans are good for lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
They might help you live to 100. Now THAT’s something to sing about.
Hungry yet? Check out some of my favorite bean recipes:
Team Seedling: Easy cooking (use canned beans to make these recipes)
Team Kale: Advanced cooking (cooking beans from scratch):