More Beans in Your Daily and Special Diets

More Beans in Your Daily and Special Diets
Aug 29, 2014 The Diet Doctor

We would like to ask your indulgence as we champion a weekend movement we’ve tagged

“All About More Beans Friday”

and we want us all to learn new ways to eat this popular food in Nigeria and the world. How do you start eating more beans and reaping the many health benefits? Adding more beans to your daily diet can be as easy as adding them to the foods you already enjoy. Beans have a neutral flavor.

Try some of the recipes following this post over the weekend. Here are a few ideas for adding more beans to your diet:

– Main dishes: Add beans to chili, burgers and rice for a satisfying entrée. Or try replacing the meat in recipes with more beans, such as a bean enchilada or black bean and cheese quesadilla.

– Side dishes: Baked beans or a bean salad would make a great addition to any meal.

– Salads: Add beans to salads for added nutrition, color and texture.

– Pasta: Adding beans to pasta dishes will provide another dimension of flavor and boost the appearance of the dish.

– Soup: Pureed beans can be used to replace cream or higher-fat ingredients.

– Dips and spreads: Bean dips and spreads make a great snack or appetizer.

– Baked goods: Replace all or part of the fat ingredients with mashed or pureed beans in foods such as brownies and cookies. Beans will give the baked items additional protein and fiber and reduce fat, cholesterol and calories.

How to Decrease Sodium in Canned Beans

Consuming a diet high in sodium is linked to the development of hypertension and increased risk for heart disease. Canned vegetables, including canned beans, contain higher amounts of sodium than their fresh or less-processed counterparts.
However, these beans still contain all of the valuable nutrients as their dry counterparts and can be part of a healthy diet. To reduce the sodium content in canned beans, simply drain and rinse them before consuming or adding to recipes. Researchers reported that draining canned beans reduces sodium content by 36 percent, while draining and rinsing canned beans reduces the sodium content by 41 percent.

Beans in Special Diets

An increasing number of people are following special diets, such vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets. While each special diet has different requirements, a common factor among them is that certain foods that normally would provide vital nutrients are eliminated. Beans can play a role in providing a variety of nutrients for individuals following these diets.

Gluten-free

For example, people with celiac disease should consume a diet that is free of gluten, a protein found in many grain products. They must eliminate these products from their diet, which increases the risk for deficiencies in several B-vitamins and other nutrients that typically are found in grains. Beans are a naturally gluten-free food, and they provide many of the same vitamins and minerals often found in enriched grain products, including thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron and fiber. Bean flour may be particularly beneficial to those following gluten-free diets because bean flours can be combined with other gluten-free flours (such as rice or tapioca flour).

Vegan/Vegetarian

Those following vegetarian or vegan diets depend on plant foods to provide important nutrients often found in animal products, such as protein, iron and zinc. While vegetarians may consume dairy or eggs, those following a vegan diet consume no animal-based products. Those following a vegan diet may eat less saturated fat, cholesterol and more dietary fiber; however, those following a vegan diet may be lacking in vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium or omega-3 fats unless they consume appropriate supplements. Beans can be a valuable part of any plant-based diet because they are rich in several nutrients and serve as a meat-alternative and contain the full complement of amino acids when paired with grains.

So eat and enjoy more beans today!

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