God save the bean!


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.

So that’s my little rant. Hope you don’t mind.

Here’s more information on beans. Maybe Mark should have a read!

Beans for Health
Superfood: Beans and Lentils
Beans and other legumes: Types and tasty tips

5 thoughts on “God save the bean!

  1. DaveC

    If you subscribe to the notion that you need a high protein, low carb diet to get fit, then fine – beans are not ideal.

    And if you are a reader of Mark’s Daily Apple, then you know he DOES espouse a low-carb diet. In that context, his take on beans make perfect sense IMO.

  2. MizFit

    oooh gutsy challenging the Apple! 🙂

    It is as DaveC says and (while I do not make this part of my blog or tell many as WHO CARES :)) I, too, eat that way.

    (although not all the time. when I calorie cycle and have a few highhigh days a week they include beans etc)

  3. monica

    All points duly noted! I guess it depends on your goals, right? So I think I need to write a post that describes the nutritional needs for specific goals. Runners surely have different nutritional profiles than body builders. This could be quite interesting!

  4. giz

    I just had an appointment with a nutritionist. She has put me on a high protein diet to help me achieve my goals – but one of the portions of protein is beans. When I mentioned I was confused about the carbs, she said “Yes, they have carbs, but they’re such good fiber I’ll take ’em. Fiber is really important too.” This nutritionist is “Woman of the Year” in my city, not a mail-order-certified quack.


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