Many people consider beans as a substitute for meat in our diet. But beans have such great nutritional benefits that it is time they moved from up from the "B-team" to taking their place as a regular menu or ingredient item.
Fiber is a very important aspect to our diet. We spend a lot of time focusing on where we could cut back when it comes to eating. Fiber is one area that Americans could afford to give a boost — and beans do just that.
What Beans Do for You
Although beans and meat hold about the same amount of calories, beans surpass meat in the areas of fiber and water. These two ingredients make you feel fuller, faster. Adding beans to your diet helps cut calories without feeling deprived. From a single, one-cup serving of black beans you get nearly 15 grams of fiber. This is well over half of the Daily Value and the same amount consumed by the average U.S. adult in one entire day of eating. You also get 15 grams of protein, boasting nearly one third of the Daily Value and equivalent to the amount in 2 ounces of meat like chicken or a fish like salmon.
Beans are also loaded with other important nutrients like calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin B and protein. They help to build muscle, improve your immune system, and reduce calcium loss. Beans also decrease the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Studies have also shown that increasing the amount of beans in your diet may also prevent certain cancers.
Beans are inexpensive and offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to cooking and creating meals. They can be added to rice, or soups, or made into a dip for veggies. While canned beans are a good option because of their convenience, it is important to check labels and buy beans that are low in sodium. Dried beans are the best choice if you have the time to soak them.
It is time to add more beans to the menu. Any kind will do — black beans, lentils, lima beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans. The incredible protein-fiber combination you get when you eat beans can't be found in any other kind of food. So when you are searching for a way to stretch your budget, stave off cravings, and slim down your waist — beans are the obvious choice.
Black Bean Fiesta Dip
- 2 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ c. chopped red onion
- ½ red chili, chopped finely
- ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 T. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Set aside a few black beans, a cilantro sprig, and a few red chili pieces for garnish.
- Place garlic, red onion, red chili, and cilantro in the food processor. Process until the ingredients are so fine that they stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Add black beans, lime juice, spices, and salt. Process until it's mostly creamy with a few bean chunks.
- Serve in a bowl and top with a few black beans, cilantro leaves, and the red pepper pieces that you reserved for garnishing.
Link to recipe