You may remember the school yard chime, "Beans, beans, the magical fruit..." You say "musical?" Well, I say magical! The FDA agrees and has approved a U.S. dietary guidance message that says bean-rich diets may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. This includes garbanzo, kidney, black beans and other legumes (not the yellow and green bean varieties). Studies also suggest that eating beans as part of a healthy diet may help to manage diabetes and help cut the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
When it comes to a healthy diabetes diet, beans are fantastic! Chock-full of fiber, beans have a low glycemic index (the rate at which a food raises your blood sugar), and provide sustained energy while slowly being released into your blood stream. A one-half cup serving of most beans contain 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrate and up to an incredible 8 grams of fiber.
The fiber in beans helps to fill you up (but not out), while promoting a healthy digestive tract and helping to lower blood cholesterol levels. Although carbohydrate rich, beans also form high levels of a type of "resistant" starch (starch that is resistant to digestion) - when cooked and then cooled. This makes chilled cooked beans in particular easier on your blood sugar than many other starches.
If that weren’t enough, beans provide loads of vitamins such as folate, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Beans are also naturally fat-free and dry legumes are very low in sodium. Lastly, legumes are a wonderful source of inexpensive protein, with as much as 10 grams per serving. In fact it’s hard to find a better source of overall great nutrition and protein than beans.
Cooking with Beans