Beans, beans, the magical fruit. Yes, beans technically constitute a fruit. But what about those sound effects? Well, believe it or not, studies have shown that eating more beans on a regular basis will actually reduce the gas.
Wow. They actually are magical. The consumption of legumes is a reliable predictor of longevity in older people. This is evident by studying the healthiest, longest-lived people in Blue Zones around the world.
And guess what data repeats throughout these areas? They eat lots of beans. So, what are the healthiest beans to eat? The answer is almost all of them. Just keep the added sugars and salts to a minimum.
List of Healthiest Beans You Should Consume Regularly
What Are Beans Good For?
Despite the bad rap beans have gotten in the diet world, there is mounting evidence that they are one of the world’s healthiest foods. Whatever types of beans you choose to eat, just eat them. One serving per day can significantly improve your health.
- Heart health. Eating beans every day can lower your risk of developing heart disease by 5%. They also help lower blood lipid levels.
- Anti-cancer effects. The phytates in beans have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
- Blood pressure. Black beans contain antioxidants that lower blood pressure.
- Blood sugar. Eating beans with a meal helps control blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes and lowers the risk of developing pre-diabetes.
- Bone health. A study has shown that people who eat more beans and high-phytate foods have stronger bones.
- Weight loss and maintenance. The fiber in beans helps you feel full longer, which results in fewer calories consumed throughout the day.
The Healthiest Beans
What types of beans should you eat? Is a can of beans as good for you as home cooked?
Different beans have different health promoting properties, but they are all good for you. Don’t worry about which beans are the healthiest you should add to your diet. Eat a variety each week to get the most health benefits.
Also known as garbanzo or ceci beans, chickpeas are one the healthiest beans to add to your diet for weight control.
Adding a few to your salad or snacking on some hummus has been shown to help you feel more satisfied. That leads to less snacking and fewer calories consumed. Thank the high fiber content in garbanzo beans for those weight-control benefits.
Legend has it that the Roman emperor Cicero was named for this prized legume.
Lentils are quick and easy to prepare. The high fiber content helps to prevent heart disease and stabilize blood sugar. Lentils are also a good source of folate, iron and magnesium.
Add cooked lentils to burrito and taco fillings or try a lentil stew.
3. Kidney Beans
The high fiber content in kidney beans helps prevent heart disease and lower blood cholesterol levels. Including kidney beans in a meal can also help prevent blood sugar spikes.
Kidney beans contain the mineral molybdenum which helps to detoxify sulfites commonly present in prepared delicatessen and salad bar foods.
4. Black Beans
Black beans are one of the healthiest beans you can add to your diet.
With black beans calories listed on nutrient labels are far more than you will digest because of the fiber and resistant starch. The research on the carbs in black beans continues to prove this legume’s benefits to digestive health.
Over 70% of black beans calories come from the carbs in black beans. But, that high number in no way implies that they should be avoided.
A good amount of the carbs in black beans is in the form of resistant starch. In one cup of black beans calories total 227. But not all of those calories go toward your daily count. That is because the resistant starch and fiber are not absorbed by your body for fuel.
5. Soy Beans
Fresh edamame, tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk are all types of beans, or bean products.
The healthiest beans and products in this category are organic, non-GMO. The controversy over soy beans and soy products continues over their phytoestrogen content.
Some experts claim that soy beans have adverse effects for women with breast cancer, others claim soy is beneficial. It turns out the body knows what to do with the phytoestrogens.
The isoflavones in soy are known to prevent some cancers, reduce blood cholesterol levels, prevent bone loss and relieve menopausal symptoms.
6. Pinto Beans
Pinto beans, whether you choose a can of beans or take the homemade route, are one of the healthiest beans to eat.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition they may help to prevent certain forms of cancer, slow tumor growth and increase the survival rate of healthy cells. They also contain flavonoids that have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
More on Legumes,
All beans are legumes but not all legumes are beans.
1. Peas and Pea pods
Fresh peas and pea pods are legumes. Though they are not beans, they do have comparable amounts of fiber, resistant starch, protein and nutrients. Add fresh peas to salads, soups or serve as a side dish.
2. Split Peas
Split peas are a type of field pea grown especially for drying and often used in soup recipes.
Peanuts are not true nuts. They belong on the legumes list. While neither a nut or a real bean, peanuts can play an important role in a healthy diet. They are high in protein, fiber and essential nutrients. Choose unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter for sandwiches or add to your favorite stir fry sauce.
Jicama is a crunchy, sweet legume with a consistency similar to a potato. Try julienned strips in a cool summer salad.
5. Bean Sprouts
Mung bean sprouts popular in Asian cuisine are a sweet, crunchy way to sneak beans into the bean-hater’s diet. Try steaming them and using as an alternative to noodles in soups and other dishes.
The Healthiest Canned Beans
The healthiest canned beans are naturally flavored and are low in salt and sugar. Try to avoid varieties with chemical additives and preservatives.
The healthiest canned beans are always going to be the ones you will eat. A 14.5 ounce can of beans will provide one person with a little over 3 servings.
1. Sneaky Bean Tips
Some people just do not like beans. There are ways to sneak them into recipes.
Try adding pureed beans to sauces as a thickening agent. Add a small amount of cooked white beans to smoothies.
Can Dogs Eat Beans?
Yes and no.
It depends on the types of beans. Beans are a healthy source of plant-based protein but should not replace meats and other animal-based proteins in your dog’s diet. Beans are also a significant source of vitamins, fiber and essential nutrients.
Not all beans are the healthiest foods to feed your pooch.
Coffee beans are off limits because of the caffeine content. Green beans are always a good option. From the legumes list, peas and peanuts in the form of unsweetened and no-salt peanut butter are healthy treats for your pet.
Can dogs eat beans raw?
As a general rule, no. With the exception of green beans, all beans should be fully cooked before feeding to your dog.
Can dogs eat beans in sauce? No, dogs should not be fed beans prepared in sauces. Dogs may experience stomach upset from tomato-based sauces, sugars, salts and other additives in prepared beans.
The Bottom Line
Including beans in your daily diet will help you be the healthiest you can be. Choosing the healthiest beans to eat is as simple as eating a variety from the beans and legumes list every week.
About the Author: Kelly is the owner of LeavesThatHeal, a website about exploring alternative ways to control weight, home remedies, and alternative health tips. He seeks to help people explore avenues to health/medical issues other than man-made medications. Kelly recommends that you check out his comprehensive article about losing weight with slim tea.