The term “superfood” seems to be thrown about a lot and for a lot of people, beans probably aren’t one of the first ones that come to mind. Well, they really should because it’s well known that beans pack a serious nutritional punch. They are loaded with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals that can help reduce inflammation, fend off chronic diseases, contribute to weight loss, improve gut health, and promote satiety.
According to epidemiologists working for the World Health Organisation, bean intake is the best predictor of longevity, beating fruit, veg and wholegrain cereals. For every 20g of beans that the subjects in their study ate per day, their chances of dying from any cause fell by 8%.
The study focused on countries well known for having long-lived inhabitants: Japan, Sweden, Greece and Australia; countries that are committed bean-eating cultures.
Beans are high in protein
Incorporating beans into your diet is great way to increase your protein consumption. A half-cup serving of beans has roughly 7 grams of protein, which is about the same as 28g of meat. By making the simple substitution of swapping the meat on your plate for beans, even for one day a week, you can incorporate more plants into your diet and lower your intake of fat, cholesterol, and calories while still meeting your protein needs.
Here is a list of popular types of beans that you can add to your diet in a variety of different ways and recipes:
- Kidney Beans
- Black Beans
- Haricot Beans
You may wonder why peas are included in the list, but peas are actually beans. Both peas and beans are legumes, and both have edible seeds and pods. Also, haricot beans may seem family because those are the types of beans that we consume the most of as they are the ones used for baked beans.
Apart from the sugar and salt content in baked beans, they are actually very nutritious.
If your diet doesn’t already incorporate any of the above listed beans, then start by just replacing one or two meals per week with beans instead of some of your normal meat dishes and you’ll start to see the differences within a short period. This is great for your long-term health and longevity so it should be an easy adjustment to your lifestyle.