Beans, beans, good for your heart; the more you eat them, the more you _____! We’ve all sung that jingle a few times growing up, and it always makes you chuckle. But, it’s true. Beans are an amazing superfood and there are a multitude of reasons to eat them; here are our top 5 reasons to eat more beans.
Why Eat More Beans?
- They ARE good for your heart! Beans are loaded with soluble fiber which can help bring down high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cholesterol, specifically high LDL, and triglycerides are key contributors to heart disease.
- They are loaded with protein. 1/2 cup of beans contain 6-7g of protein (the same as 1 oz of chicken or fish) making them a great alternative to meat-based proteins. With the recent trend to plant-based proteins endorsed by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, beans make a great choice for anyone trying to increase their protein intake. Even weightlifters and bodybuilders are jumping on the bean bandwagon!
- They help balance blood sugar. Beans offer a nice balance of carbohydrate and protein in every serving, which is a nice perk of this plant-based protein, and something you can’t get from beef, chicken or fish. This balance ensures a low glycemic index and is digested slowly, which means that you stay fuller, longer.
- They keep you regular. Digestive health is critically important everyday. Having a newborn around again, and a toddler who is potty training, I am constantly talking about poop! But it doesn’t matter your age, pooping regularly is so important for your overall health. Beans prevent constipation given the higher fiber content.
- They are low in fat. This is huge when it comes to your weight loss goals. With a 1/2 cup of beans, you get 6-7g of protein with only 1g of fat, you can maximize your macronutrients. This is very difficult to do with animal-based proteins, which are loaded with fat, coupled with the protein that you need.
How to Eat More Beans
We love beans in our kitchen at Focused on Fit, for all the reasons above. Plus they taste great and are so versatile in so many dishes. We have created a few dishes with black beans, that are fan favorites and are truly so easy to make. And with Cinco de Mayo around the corner, some of these will be perfect to add to your menu next week!
Our Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas are the latest creation from our kitchen. They are savory and spicy, and loaded with superfoods like sweet potatoes, black beans and whole wheat tortillas. The best part about this dish is that all the components can be made ahead of time, making assembly at dinner quick and easy. Or a perfect dish to take to family or a friend.
One of our other favorite black bean dishes is our Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger with a Kick! With summer coming up, throw these on the grill while you are entertaining friends. Believe me, even the meat-lovers will love these vegetarian burgers. They are loaded with black beans, sweet potato and brown rice; top them with a slice of pepper-jack cheese and you will have a spicy treat for your Saturday afternoon party.
Of course, black beans aren’t the only bean that bears all these qualities. If you prefer chickpeas, you can get similar benefits, and try some of our other healthy dishes as well!