Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart

'A bean is the seed of one of several genera of the flowering plant family Fabaceae, which are used as vegetables for human or animal food. They can be cooked in many different ways, including boiling, frying, and baking, and are used in several traditional dishes throughout the world.' Wikipedia

Love Your Legumes

Beans are classified into a group of plant foods known as legumes. These plants produce fruits and seeds inside a pod.

Spill the Beans

The people who live the longest in the world have been found to be consuming more beans. They eat them every day!

Cook Them Well

Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family - they grow in pods and must be consumed well cooked to destroy toxins.

Beans and legumes are some of the most underrated foods on the planet. Studies have shown that the longest living people in the world are in Okinawa Japan and Campodimele, Italy and one of the things they have in common is their love of beans in their daily diets. The same can be said for Sweden, Australia and Greece.

Are you someone who remembers just how good they taste when you happen to have some, but doesn't make a concerted effort to include them regularly in meals? Perhaps this information will encourage you to take a leaf from Jack's beanstalk and get on the beanwagon. It's bean too long - it's time to rediscover the benefits of beans.

Nutritious

Beans are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, potassium, calcium, iron and zinc, fibre, complex carbohydrates and are low in fat.

Health Benefits

They are antioxidant, packed with polyphenols, reduce diabetes risk, help improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce cancer risk and boost gut health.

So Many Recipes

They are perfect for sauces, soups, salads, rice & peas, casseroles, dips and dhals, chilli, tortillas and the good old Full English. Dried and canned are equally good.

'Is that why the expression 'full of beans' means happy and energetic?'

Helen Reynolds

Where have you BEAN all my life?

Legumes are defined by the fact that they grow in pods, and beans are simply a type of legume (along with lentils, chickpeas, peas, and even peanuts). The bean family offers so many options - turtle, flageolet, pinto, cranberry, cannellini, kidney, black, butter, black-eyed peas, lima, mung, navy, soya, adzuki, anasazi - have we missed any? The most famous in the UK being Heinz Baked Beans which are made using haricot beans.

Adding ginger, fennel, cumin or caraway can help reduce bloating and, dare we mention it, wind! Beans have a reputation for causing wind but evidence suggests that the pros far outweigh the cons.

Throughout the world there are endless ways of spicing up or flavouring up your beans - every country has its own special ways. How about beans the Mexican way or Sri Lankan way? So tasty! Dhal is a staple of India and popular all over the world. A tip I've come across is to add the salt at the end so that it doesn't harden the beans during the cooking process and make it take longer. Some of our favourite local food businesses include beans and other legumes in their dishes - Poco Culina, The Coconut Tree, Marinades, The Find and Hema's Kitchen. Andy from Poco Culina wrote a blog called Spill the Beans that you might like to read. Our recommended Nutritional Therapist Ami Sheward also sings the praises of beans for your daily diet. Regarding the 'cook well to destroy toxins' matter - garden peas are the only exception. They can be eaten as raw as you like. Beans freeze very well and can be kept in the fridge for about a week; they also taste better over time, so why not cook some extra for the freezer.

Rice n Peas, a Jamaican dish (known as Peas n Rice in The Bahamas) is a very popular dish that usually accompanies Jerk Chicken - my family loves to have Rice n Peas with the Sunday roast as it goes really well with spicy gravy. The 'peas' are actually kidney beans.

Beans are a big hit with vegetarians and vegans, being filling and adaptable.


The 9 healthiest beans and legumes you can eat

According to healthline.com:

  • Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans - a great source of fibre and protein)

  • Lentils

  • Peas

  • Kidney Beans

  • Black Beans

  • Soybeans

  • Pinto Beans

  • Navy Beans (who has even heard of these?!)

  • Peanuts

Lastly, beans are cheap. When you are trying to make your food budget go further, beans are a no-brainer. If you'd like to learn more about how to make tasty recipes, ask Foodworks which courses they have coming up.

We'd love to hear your bean recipe recommendations so if you have a delicious one, please send it in to us at cheltmembers@gmail.com.

This has BEAN fun! x