Super Foods: nutritional powerhouses for lifelong health and vitalityby Eat healthier, Live better
The Humble Bean - A Super Food
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If you're looking for healthy foods to eat that are loaded with not only nutrition, but also flavor and versatility, get to know these 10 super foods. No matter how you choose to eat these super foods, your body will thank you! These super foods will definitely earn their place in your kitchen, and your healthy diet plan.
The Humble Bean - A Super Food Leading A Double Life
There aren't a lot of foods that can hold
more than one place on the food
pyramid. But, long before we started
talking about super foods, ancient
peoples knew the benefits this humble
food had to offer; as a vegetable, a
protein, and a healer.
In traditional Indian medicine, there exists
an ages-old system of living and healing
that includes a vegetarian diet using
legumes like lentils, beans, and peas to
keep the body healthy. Now, beyond the
Middle-Eastern cultures, many people recognize the power of the bean to support whole nutrition and wellbeing.
Here, we discuss some of the benefits of beans, and why they are leading a double life as a wellrespected
Perfect Nutrition On Many Levels
Legumes are edible seeds contained in pods, and beans are part of that family. By their very nature, beans have
a convenience factor that makes them a favorite food in many parts of the world. They are generally
inexpensive and store well with the potential for a long shelf life, particularly when they are dried. Beans offer
sustained nutrition and energy due to the fact they have a low glycemic index, meaning they provide energy to
the body over a long period of time.
You won't get bored quickly eating beans, either. There is virtually an endless variety of beans and legumes to
choose from, as well as a mountain of recipes to try when adding beans to your healthy diet. A short list of
beans would include navy beans, black beans, lentils, soybeans, great northern beans, mung beans, garbanzo
beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans.
Beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins, and are naturally low in fat, calories, and
sodium. You can serve beans in nutritious main dishes or side dishes that will satisfy your appetite with lesscostly
consequences to your body, or budget. These reasons alone would easily earn beans their super food
status, but there's more!
Eating several servings of beans each day not only helps you reach your daily vegetable requirement, but those
same beans also add up as your protein intake. Yes, those inexpensive, versatile beans are a protein. That's
why we consider them a double-duty super food. Beans can easily be combined in recipes with other protein
sources, vegetables, and starches like corn, whole wheat, or brown rice to create 'complete proteins'
containing all the necessary amino acids our bodies require to function well.
Good Health Contributions
Beans have numerous healthy qualities that make them excellent additions to any diet. As we mentioned, not
only are beans a nutritious vegetable source, but a perfect choice as a meat substitute. By reducing high-fat
protein sources like red meats in your diet, and substituting low fat beans as your source of protein, you are
fighting high cholesterol, high blood pressure, as well as a host of other ailments that can occur from a diet
high in fat.
Antioxidants battle those nasty free radicals, the cell damaging agents in your body, and beans have some of
the highest antioxidant content of any food on the planet. Although the benefits vary between different types
of beans, all beans help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and improve
digestion. The dietary fiber and enzymes in beans have the added benefit of helping to block cancer-causing
cells and compounds in the intestines and colon.
The humble little kidney bean contains a healthy dose of thiamin, which regulates memory and brain function.
Many beans also contain isoflavones, which can ease menopause symptoms and improve bone and prostate
health, just to name a few benefits. Choose any bean and you've chosen a super food well worth the title.
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