They're the ultimate convenience food too, and can really help stretch the smallest of food budgets.
Beans are a high source of fiber, which is really important to stay slim but also wards off the risk of colon cancer too. It is recommended that women consume between 25-30 grams of fiber a day. However, most of us consume only half of that, leaving many of us chronically constipated, fatigued, and frustrated by our inability to lose weight. The good news is that, with a little imagination, beans can play a tasty and important role in your weight loss goals.
Consuming adequate fiber is essential for any weight loss plan, for two reasons. The high fiber content in beans makes you feel full and satisfied for longer. This stabilizes your blood sugar levels and reduces your appetite, both vital factors for losing weight. Another added bonus is that beans are high in soluble fiber, which can help to reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Beans are often overlooked as a quality source of low fat protein. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, beans provide a quality heart-healthy complete protein, but without the saturated fat of animal protein. A lot of dieters stick to high animal protein diets which can be helpful for weight loss. However these animal sources provide no fiber, so dieters end up constipated. The fat content in animal protein can easily end up being stored by your body, whereas if you eat too much vegetable protein, it is simply eliminated by your body as waste. There is a place in the diet for lean cuts of animal meat and dairy, but substituting beans for meat at a few meals will be great for your health.
Cooking beans is easy, although you can even just use canned beans. Just be sure to buy the low sodium variety and rinse the beans well. Also don't go crazy right away on beans - give your digestive system a little time to adjust. Introduce them gradually until your body gets used to them.
Some bean recipes to try..
Chickpea SaladTin of chickpeas
Chopped fresh chilies or chili flakes
2 tablespoon olive oil
Chop it all up, mix it together and serve.
Lima Bean Hummus1 can of lima beans
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 to 2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup finely minced parsley leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
This is a great, low fat, hummus snack. The lima beans are an excellent source of Tyrosine and will stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Just take all the above ingredients (except the parsley) and blend until pureed. Then take out of the blender and mix in the parsley leaves, and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours. Lastly, add the paprika as a garnish and serve with chopped vegetables like carrots or celery.