Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beans: The High-Protein Food That's Healthy and Cheap

Another fine article from Real age

Here's why beans always make our best-foods list: They're a healthy, cheap source of protein that'll reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, lower your blood sugar, and flatten your belly. (Protect your heart with a batch of EatingWell's Smoky Black Bean Soup tonight.)
Yep, beans do all that and more. Here are 5 ways beans help your waistline, heart, and blood sugar:
  1. Reduce belly fatA recent study found that beans' soluble fiber chases away deep-down, visceral belly fat -- the toxin-filled kind that threatens your vital organs.
  2. Lower blood sugar. Beans are low on the glycemic index, which means they're digested slowly, so they stabilize your blood sugar. Translation: Beans reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Stabilize blood sugar deliciously with this Very Green Lentil Soup recipe from EatingWell.
  3. Reduce blood pressureBeans are rich in artery-friendly minerals and healthy plant protein -- the kind that's better for blood pressure than protein from animals. Substitute the deli meat on your next sandwich with EatingWell's Braised Greens & Cannellini Bean Panini recipe.
  4. Protect heart health. The soluble fiber in beans also helps reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein, which lowers your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. Try this pasta dish fromEatingWell to help lower your heart disease risk: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Chickpeas.
  5. Reduce cancer risk. Simply eating beans three times a week helps prevent colon cancer. (You're 33% less likely to develop colon polyps.) Cutting back on red meat can reduce cancer risk, too.
So, what's not to like about beans? Oh, those gas attacks? Ease into eating beans, and take the supplement Beano (available at grocery stores) until your body is used to them. Beano's natural enzymes deflate gas attacks. The elevator crowd will thank you.

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