Friday, November 6, 2009

The Benefits & Types of Beans

The Benefits of Beans

  • Inexpensive
  • Low in fat/no cholesterol
  • High in protein, carbohydrates, B Vitamins and Iron
  • Easy to store (dry beans will keep indefinitely if store below 70 degrees F in a tightly covered container in a dry place)

The Downside of Beans

If beans are not a regular part of your diet they are hard for your system to digest. You can over come this by eating beans more regularly, giving your body more practice in producing the enzymes needed to help digest beans.

Types of (common) Beans

  • Black Beans - Most famous as the mainstay in black bean soup, a natural accompaniment to rice and a filling in burritos and other Latin food. They’re available both canned and dried in most grocery stores.
  • Garbanzo Beans - These acorn-shaped, yellow legumes are used in soups and as the base for hummus, a popular Middle Eastern spread. They are also called chickpeas.

  • Kidney Beans - These medium-sized red beans get their name from their distinctive shape. Kidney beans are a mainstay in Mexican meals, and they work equally well in soups and stews. Try mixing them with other cooked beans and tossing them in a light vinaigrette for a quick and easy, super nutritious salad.
  • Pink - Small oval-shaped beans, pale pink in color, also known by the Spanish name Habichuelas Rosadas

  • Pinto - Named for its mottled skin (compare pinto horse), hence it is a type of mottled bean. It is the most common bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico, and is most often eaten whole in broth or mashed and refried.
  • Red Beans - Very popular in Mexico and the southwestern United States. This dark red, medium-size bean is most commonly used in Mexican cooking for Chile con Carne and refried beans. They are also delicious served with rice and are readily available in most grocery stores.
  • White - The small, white navy bean, also called pea bean or haricot, is particularly popular in Britain and the US, featured in such dishes as baked beans and even pies, as well as in various soups such as the famous Senate Bean Soup
  • Black Eyed Peas - Black-eyed peas are commonly used in Southern dishes and as side dishes

  • Great Northern Beans - Suitable for any number of uses: salads, soups, stews, ragouts, purees. Their texture is slightly grainy, with a nutty, dense flavor. Popular in North America, Great Northerns look like white baby lima beans.
  • Lima Beans - Famous for their buttery flavor, these beans are large and can be either light green or cream-colored. They are served as a side dish, often cooked with bits of bacon for additional flavor
  • Soybeans - The soybean is the only legume that's a complete protein by itself, and it is the most versatile bean around - you will find soybeans in a variety of forms, from dried or toasted soybeans to tofu, miso, tempeh and tamari. Also known as Edamame.

  • Split Peas - These flavorful members of the legume family come in both yellow and green varieties and make a wonderfully substantial soup that is easy to make.

  • Lentils - Lentils are tiny and do not need to be soaked before cooked. They come in different colors and have a nutty taste. They are best in stews and salads.

Mayo Clinic has a some great information as well as pictures!

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