Friday, June 3, 2011

The Benefit of Beans

Fact: Remember the song, “beans, beans they’re good for your heart..?” Well, the reason why beans are good for your heart is because they are an excellent source of carbohydrates.  The amount of carbs in beans varies between the different types. For example, one cup of chick peas or garbanzo beans has about 55 grams of carbs, while red kidney beans only have about 10 grams. Besides providing all the benefits of carbs, beans are also rich in protein and fiber, while also being naturally cholesterol- and saturated fat-free. Clearly, it is easy to see why beans are considered a super-food.

What are the benefits of beans? Beans are a great way for vegetarians to get the necessary amount of protein that every diet needs without having to consume meat products. Although that fact is true, vegetarians should not be the only people to eat beans. Since they are so low in fat, sometimes they are a good substitute or compliment to a piece of meat, poultry or fish. Beans are also very inexpensive! They truly give you a lot of bang for your buck, and by bang I mean energy from the protein and carbs beans provide.

Picnic Perfect Recipe: Beans have a very long shelf life whether dried or canned. They provide a nice creamy addition to most dishes such as salads or soups.  Beans also stay fresh without refrigeration for several hours which is perfect for outdoor picnics or barbeques. For a perfect summertime bean recipe try Corn and Black Bean Salad with Basil-Lime Vinaigrette courtesy of the Food Network. The corn and mango chunks add the perfect sweetness to balance the acidity of the vinaigrette, while the two different types of beans provide all the carbs, protein and fiber you could ever want in a salad. Like always, don't be afraid to customize any recipe to suit your taste.


  1. Beans are a great way for vegetarians to get the protein that they need. Do you have any thoughts on canned versus dried beans in recipes?

  2. Sometime when using canned beans you need to be careful because they can be high in sodium. Rinsing them before using reduces this problem. Some dried bean can take hours to soak, so they can be very inconvenient. All I can really say is it depends on the recipe and how much time you have to make it. Personally, I would rather use dried beans for soups because it allows me to control the sodium levels better, especially because soups develop deeper flavors the longer they cook (and I don't want that flavor to be salt). Canned beans are so cheap and easy to use. If a recipe calls for one type over the other I would suggest using what the recipe says, but if not feel free to experiment either way.

    Hope that helped and thanks for the comment!