Food of the Week: Beans
Beans are wonderful for your health, mainly because of their fiber content, but they also have defensive antioxidants, protective phytochemicals, and beneficial protein!
Beans & Fiber:
There are various types of beans, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are an amazing source of fiber; a nutrient that most Americans do not consume enough of on a daily basis. The national daily average intake of fiber for American is 11 grams. However, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends 25 grams per day and the American Gastroenterologicial Association recommends 30-35 grams per day. When it comes to fiber, the more the better! (Within reason, obviously.)
***1 Cup of beans can have 11 grams to 17 grams of fiber, depending on the type. You could achieve your daily intake of fiber easily if you incorporate beans into your daily diet.
Beans & Cholesterol:
A study out of the University of Kentucky says that 1 Cup of beans per day can lower your total cholesterol by 10% in a mere 6 weeks! This can be attributed to the healthy fiber content of beans.
Beans & Blood Sugar:
The soluble fiber in beans has a positive affect on the rate in which glucose is absorbed because the high fiber content of the beans causes the blood sugar to rise very slowly and in a controlled manner. This helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin production in the body, called “glycemic control.” This is extremely beneficial for everyone, especially Diabetics.
Beans & Cancer:
Studies have found a lower occurrence of breast cancer in women who consumed a higher intake of beans and lentils-eating beans 2 or more times per week reduced this risk by 24%.
There is a phytochemical in beans called: diosgenin, which has been said to inhibit cancer cells from multiplying.
Other phytochemicals in beans that protect cells from the genetic damage that can lead to cancer include: phytic acid, saponins, and protease inhibitors.
My Favorite Bean Recipes
Cuban-Style Black Bean Soup
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Red onions of medium size; chopped
1 Red bell pepper of medium size; chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 tsp Ground Cumin
1, 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 TB Chipotle peppers, chopped ***they come from a can called Adobo Chipotle Chiles (found in the Latin food area of your supermarket)
7 Cups Water, hot
2 TB Lime Juice
2 TB Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Over medium heat, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet
Add onions and red bell pepper to the oil and sauté until slightly brown
Add garlic and cumin-stir for about 1 minute, until it is all mixed together
Transfer the items from the skillet to the slow cooker.
Add the beans and chipotle peppers to the mixture
Add 7 Cups of hot water to the slow cooker
Cover and cook on high until beans are tender-should take about 6 hours.
Transfer 2 cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth.
Return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker
Stir in lime juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Serving = 1 Cup of soup contains about:
3.5 grams of fat
480 mg of sodium
30 grams of carbs (Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 4g)
8 grams of protein
Black Bean Tacos
For bean mixture-
- 1, 16-ounce Can of Organic Black Beans, drained
- 1 Onion, Medium in size; chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
- 2 Serrano Chiles, fresh; chopped
- 1 TB Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Cumin, ground
- 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive OIl
- 1, 8-ounce Can of Organic Tomato Sauce, thick
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, ground
For assembling the Tacos-
- 4-6 Corn tortillas (hard or soft-shell)
- 1 Cup Shredded Lettuce
- 1/4 Cup Black Olives, chopped
- Avocado; sliced – about 2 slices per taco
- Optional: 1 tsp Chihuahua cheese per taco or organic sour cream for added flavor
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
- Add garlic, chiles, chili powder, and cumin; stir thoroughly and cook until all is softened
- Add the beans and cook until they are tender; about 8 minutes
- Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and stir until the mixture thickens.
- Spoon desired amount of mixture into a taco shell (about 4 TB per taco) and dress with the accompaniments.
Turkey Sausage & 3-Bean Chili:
- 1, 15-Oz. Can of Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15-Oz. Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15-Oz. Can of Cannellini Beans (White beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 1/4 LB Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage (Jenny-O’s)
- 1 Onion, large and chopped
- 2 Jalapeno chilies, chopped and seeded
- 1 1/2, 28-ounce Cans of Crushed Tomatoes in puree
- 1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 TB, plus 2 tsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Cumin, ground
- 1 TB Red Wine Vinegar
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add Sweet Italian sausages and brown on all sides, turning occasionally-about 7-8 minutes
- Transfer the sausages to a plate.
- Add chopped onion to pan and sauté 5 minutes
- Add chilies and sauté 1 minute
- Add chili powder and cumin and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds
- Add crushed tomatoes and all beans
- Simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors
- Cut sausage into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Add sausage to chili and simmer until cooked through, stirring occasionally-about 10 minutes.
- Mix in vinegar and season chili to taste with salt & pepper.