Beans, beans, the magical fruit! While we know that beans are not fruit, these humble legumes can be somewhat magical in our diets. They are great sources of plant-based protein that promote heart and digestive health. Beans are also inexpensive and versatile! Let’s dive into what the science says about beans and explore fun ways to eat them.
“But I heard beans are unhealthy!”
Several diets, including the Paleo diet, Whole 30, low-carb diets, and the lectin-free diet swear off beans. We’re dispelling some myths about beans and telling you what nutrition science supports:
Myth #1: Beans contain lectins, which are toxic and cause inflammation. Lectins are proteins found in many foods. The lectins in raw or undercooked beans can be harmful. Properly cooking beans or buying canned beans eliminate the potentially harmful effects of lectins.
Myth #2: Beans are high-carbohydrate foods, and carbohydrates are bad. We actually need carbohydrates in our diets to provide energy and keep us satisfied. Our bodies prefer complex carbohydrates with fiber from whole-food sources such as fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and…beans! Complex carbs encourage even-keel energy after a meal or snack.
Myth #3: Beans are bad for digestion. While its true that beans can cause digestive upset for some people, most can digest them with no issues. If you are having digestive issues of any kind, we recommend consulting with a health professional.
Types of beans
Now that you know all about how beans can be a healthy addition to your diet, let’s explore some different types of beans you can try:
- Black beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
- Fava beans (also called broad beans)
- Great Northern beans
- Anasazi beans
- Kidney beans
- Lentils (actually legumes)
- Lima beans
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans
- Adzuki beans
For delicious recipes, nutrition tips, and cooking and nutrition classes, go to the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center website. More health tips are also available at the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board.