I usually like Mark’s Daily Apple, but I was really disappointed in his recent post on beans. He really gave these wondrous morsels a bad wrap!
Legumes aren’t, by any means, the worst thing you can eat, but they don’t make the ideal meal either. In my estimation, legumes fall into the “O.K.” category with wine, chocolate, cheese and other dairy, etc.
What the hell? Beans are awesome. Like it or not, we humans have been eating beans for ages. They’ve been found in 5,000 year-old settlements in the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, and even in Egyptian pyramids. Pyramids, people – you think these wonders of the world were built on lousy nutrition?
If you subscribe to the notion that you need a high protein, low carb diet to get fit, then fine – beans are not ideal. But neither is this lifestyle (in my opinion). Beans supply an awesome balance of protein and complex carbs, plus loads of vitamins and minerals. And they’re not pumped with nasty chemicals or raised in manure on a factory farm. And unlike most meats, beans have been shown to be awesome for your heart.
- They are a good source of potassium, which may help reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
- Dry beans are a good source of folic acid, which protects against heart disease by breaking down an amino acid called homocysteine.
- In a large study of almost 10,000 men and women, those who ate beans four or more times a week cut their risk of coronary heart disease by about 20 percent, compared with those who ate beans less than once a week.
- Other studies show that within two to three weeks, diets high in either canned or dry beans (3 to 4 ounces per day) reduce blood cholesterol levels by 10 percent or more: an effect that can result in a 20 percent decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Beans and lentils have the same potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants—flavonoids and flavonals—found in tea, fruits, grapes, red wine and cocoa beans.
- Beans are among the richest food sources of saponins, chemicals that help prevent undesirable genetic mutations.