If you eat a lot of beans in your diet then you might be smugly reading this post - already knowing how beans benefit your health. Apart from the obvious sugar ladened tomato sauce covered beans you can buy in a tin, beans are not usually a staple for many people. BUT...what if you knew more about the benefits to your health?
Try to incorporate beans and legumes into your daily diet. Whether you're a meat eater or plant based, beans can be enjoyed and embraced for health, no matter what your preference is.
Firstly beans are high in fibre. Fibre intake contributes to feelings of fullness and helps maintain functioning of the digestive system. The consumption of fibre has also been associated with decreasing total and LDL cholesterol, as well as decreasing the risk for developing coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
Beans are a source of plant protein which is needed to build muscle, hair, skin, and immune system amongst other functions. Protein also helps to stabilise our blood sugar and keeps us fuller for longer.
Best of all - beans bulk out meals and are cheap, so they are a great store cupboard staple. With the cost of living crisis ever present, it's important to find healthy food that doesn't cost too much - and beans certainly fit the bill. Plus, our healthcare system is struggling to cope with the demand of sick people, therefore looking for ways to reduce eating processed foods and concentrating on foods which will benefit our health is imperative.
Add them into stews, soups, chills, curries, puree them, mash them or oven roast them. They are so versatile.
Healthy and hearty bean chilli.
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
2 small onions
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried chilli flakes or cayenne pepper (adjust according to how spicy you like it).
1 tsp dried cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried oregano
Handful of fresh coriander
2 medium carrots
1 stick of celery
1 yellow or red pepper
1 tbsp tomato purée
1.5 tsp miso paste
2 tsp soy sauce
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1/2 pint water
1 x 400g tin black beans
1 x 400g tin lentils
2 squares of dark chocolate
Natural yogurt and avocado to serve.
Put the onions, celery, carrots and pepper into a food processor and blitz until small (but not mushy!)
Add a tbsp of olive oil into a hot frying pan and add the blitzed vegetables. Stir on and off for 5 minutes. Once the vegetables have started to cook, add all the spices and herbs. Add a little water at this stage to prevent burning and turn the heat down if necessary.
Finely chop the mushrooms or put them in the food processor and blitz until small. Add these to the vegetable mixture.
Stir and cook the mushrooms for a further 5 minutes.
Add the 2 tins of tomatoes, water, tomato puree, soya sauce, garlic and miso paste and stir. Bring to the boil and then to a simmer and cook for a further 20 minutes with the lid off. Add the tins of black beans, lentils, dark chocolate and stir. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with rice or quinoa or on a sweet potato with avocado, natural yogurt and coriander.
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