Why eat green peas and other beans….

Why eat green peas and other beans….

Green PeasMany of us have been eating beans in our diet, but have we ever thought about their benefits. Yes, it is still great to eat baked beans for breakfast now.

Let us first look at the health benefits of beans.

  • They are rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber present helps to slow down the entry of glucose into the blood stream, helps to lower ‘LDL’ or bad cholesterol. The fiber combines with the bile salts and excretes it, thereby reducing the cholesterol content in the body. The insoluble fiber helps to relieve constipation with a laxative effect and hence helps to prevent gastrointestinal disorders.
  • It helps to lower homocysteine levels, a compound known to increase the risk of heart disease. Folate helps to lower homocysteine levels. Elevated blood levels of homocysteine are an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease, and are found in between 20-40% of patients with heart disease.
  • Manganese content in beans help to release various enzymes for energy production and for release of antioxidants.
  • The magnesium present in beans helps to improve the flow of blood through the veins and arteries and thereby prevents blood clotting and hence prevents heart attacks.
  • Beans are a good source of many of the B vitamins and also bring good supplies of calcium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium for our bodies.
  • It is the cheapest source of protein and is said to be low in fat. The bean protein on combination with whole grain cereals helps to provide the good quality of proteins required for vegetarians and also for others with out the saturated fats which are present in meats and dairy.
  • The phytoestrogens present in few of the beans such as soyabeans helps to protect against various cancers in women.
  • Beans has been quite beneficial in diabetes as it helps to maintain blood sugars, hence should be liberally used by diabetics. Diabetics can eat these to have healthy and satisfying meals. It provides energy but still stabilizes blood sugar levels.

Hence use beans in your diet for its health benefits. If using the canned variety, look for the ones that are not preserved in sugar and fat.

Beans can be incorporated in the diet in various ways such as

  • Bean soup- steam beans and do not throw away the water. Add the spices you like and have a bowl of this soup for your meals.
  • Saute beans in tomato puree and have them with whole wheat bread.
  • Add cooked beans in salad with lots of veggies.
  • Beans can be used for filling up sandwiches.

My favourite recipe with beans.

Ingredients for one serving

  • Cooked beans-25-30gms
  • Yogurt or curd -100ml
  • Kelloggs wheat flakes with bran
  • Salt, pepper, cumin powder, chilli powder.
  • veggies- chopped onions, tomato, coloured peppers etc

Mix all the ingredients together and serve immediately.

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

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