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Beans Beans…Lima, Pinto and Red!

January 6, 2012

National Bean day is today!  This day can be celebrated by serving up your favorite bean dishes at “bean parties”, by sending gifts to your friends      such as beans in a jar with your favorite bean recipe, or by creating bean projects with your children.  Before you choose which way you will celebrate National Bean Day, lets learn about the many benefits to eating beans!

Beans have historically been called the “poor man’s food”; however, they should be renamed the “healthy man’s food” to represent their many health benefits.  Beans are part of the legume vegetable group and contain over 13,000 variations!  Lima, pinto, black, green and kidney are just a few of the many beans you will find.  They are a great source of protein and fiber and can help to lower your cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer, improve blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, prevent constipation, and help the colon to function properly. 

Beans and Protein:

Beans are a great, inexpensive source of protein and can be an excellent alternative to animal products.  One cup of cooked beans provides approximately 15 grams of protein!  However, unlike animal protein, beans contain fiber making them a favorable protein source.  Combine your favorite bean with brown rice, nuts and seeds to form a low-fat complete protein. 

Beans and Fiber:

Beans are also a great source of fiber and contain up to 15 grams dietary fiber per cup.  Beans are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol by forming a gel and binding with bile making it easier to remove from the body.  Insoluble fiber prevents constipation by forming a bulky mass of digested food helping to speed up the passage of waste through the digestive system.  This helps to lower the risk of irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis and keep the colon healthy!

 

Bean Math

Canned Beans to Cooked Beans

14-16 oz. can = 1.5 cups cooked beans

19 oz. can = 2.25 cups cooked beans

28 oz. can = 3 – 3.25 cups cooked beans

 

Dry Bean Yields after Cooking

1 pound dry beans = 6 cups cooked beans

1 pound dry beans = 2 cups dry beans

1 cup dry beans (most kinds) = 2.5 cups cooked beans

Chick peas, great northern beans and lima beans: 1 cup dry beans = 3 cups cooked beans

Lentils: 1 cup dried  lentils = 3 cups cooked

 

TIP #1:  Rinse canned beans to wash away excess sodium.

 

TIP #2:  When cooking beans, do not add salt or acidic ingredients like vinegar, tomatoes or juice as it slows the cooking process.  Instead, add these ingredients when the beans are tender near the end of the cooking process. 

 

Beans, beans…lima, pinto and red; with over 13,000 kinds, and so many health benefits, beans really shine! 

How will you celebrate National Bean Day?  What’s your favorite bean or bean dish?

 

 

 

 

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