Beans: Good For the Heart In All Varieties
Participating in veganuary this year? But, struggling to get the right nutrients from your food? Then, look no further than this blog as we explore natures nuggets of protein and carbohydrates. We mean, of course, beans! Join us as we explore the history and cultivation of these food sources. Additionally, we investigate the many varieties and types they come in!
What are Beans?
Beans are seeds from flowering plants. They function as vegetables for human or animal food. Especially, because they cook in many different ways including: boiling, frying, and baking. Many different traditional dishes throughout the world utilise them for their taste and nutritional value. This is due to their easy harvest and, thus, cheap cost.
Unlike it’s close cousin, the pea, beans need warm temperatures to grow. They don’t, however, require as much fertiliser as most plants. From planting to harvest, the seed’s maturity typically is 55-60 days and changes it exterior from green to their mature colour.
Like peas, they grow in pods and require external support for their vines. Thus resulting in Native Americans growing these legumes alongside crops like corn and squash. The tall cornstalks acted as this needed support.
Value and Nutrition
Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants. This is because they are wild and improved their form early. The seeds we know today grew in Thailand from the 7th century BCE. Ultimately, their popularity came from being an important source or protein throughout Old and New World history. This is still the case today.
These legumes are high in protein, complex carbohydrates, folate (a B vitamin), and iron. Additionally, they have significant amounts of fibre and soluble fibre. The latter of which helps to lower blood cholesterol.
However, like all foods, they must be eaten in moderation. First, because they contain antinutrients that inhibit some enzyme processes in the body. Secondly, they contain toxins that must be removed by brining the bean to a boil. Fermentation is also an excellent method for this necessity. In short, beans must be cooked before they are consumed!
Types and Varieties
There are countless varieties of beans. Check out some of the healthiest and how to eat them!
- Chickpeas (also known as Garbanzo beans). Particularly beneficial at reducing blood sugar and increasing insulin sensitivity. Blend with tahini to create a delicious hummus.
- Black. A staple of Central and South American dishes. Additionally, they help to reduce the spike in blood sugar after a meal. They are incredibly versatile and work in a number of dishes.
- Black-eyed Peas. An excellent source of folate for all that vitamin goodness. They are earthy in flavour so perfect to pair with salty food.
- Kidney. The most consumed beans. Plus, they pack the same amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants as blueberries. Like others on this list, they are high versatile and make a great addition to any dish.
- Soy. Did you know that this is what tofu is made from? What’s more they help to reduce a number of risk factors for heart disease. Enjoy as a tofu dish, as milk, or in a soup as miso paste.