Most Nutritious Beans

By: Ron Lagerquist

“Beans can be eaten raw, sprouted or cooked, ground into flour, curdled into tofu, fermented into soya sauce, tempi and miso.”

Legumes have been used throughout the earth for thousands of years. They come in hundreds of shapes, sizes and colors, are versatile and amazingly convenient because they can be dried and stored for years. Soaking beans for a couple of hours brings them back to life, activating enzymes, proteins, minerals and vitamins.

Beans can be eaten raw, sprouted or cooked, ground into flour, curdled into tofu, fermented into soya sauce, tempi and miso. They are excellent in chilies, soups and salads. Beans are high in iron and packed with protein. They are also a rich source of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, phosphorus and an excellent source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. They are low in sodium and saturated fats.

The More You Eat, The More You Toot

Beans have an unhappy reputation of creating an embarrassing byproduct of smelly gas. This gas which consists mainly of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, is the byproduct of bacteria in the intestine breaking down the complex carbohydrates in the beans. Here is a flatulence rating for beans from the highest gas-producing to the least:

  • soybeans
  • pink beans
  • black beans
  • pinto beans
  • small white beans
  • great northern beans
  • baby lima beans
  • chick peas
  • large lima beans
  • black-eyed peas.

Reactions may vary according to intestinal length. As the body becomes accustomed to eating beans, you will find that this problem disappears. A product on the market called Beno supplies the digestive enzyme, Alpa-Galactosidase that will help you in the transition. Five drops of Beno before a meal of delicious beans, and I can tell you from personal experience, it really works.

Some believe that cooking with ginger or chewing on a peppermint leaf will help alleviate the problem. Another trick is not to cook the beans in the same water you soak them in. Unfortunately, you lose some of the nutrients in the water but your family and friends will thank you!

Eating fruits shortly before or after a meal of starches, such as bread or beans, will cause excessive gas. When simple sugar and starch are digested within 2-4 hours of each other, the starch slows the transit time of fruit in the intestine, causing fermentation and excessive gas.

For a pound of beef, you can buy 6 or 7 lb. of dried beans, equaling approximately 22 lb. of food. That is 22 lb. of highly nutritious, cholesterol-free, fiber-filled food for one pound of toxic beef. For tight budgets, it is the perfect food.

There is no way we could possibly cover the thousands of varieties of legumes on the market today. We will take a closer look at some of the most popular legumes and the delicious way you can serve this nutritious food. When buying dried legumes, look for bright, uniformly-colored, unbroken beans. Dried beans are capable of being stored in glass containers for up to a year at room temperature.

List Of The Most Nutritious Beans

Black Beans Popular in South and Central America. They are jet black on the outside and cooking will cause a black discoloration of the water. Black beans are an excellent addition to rice dishes. Cook rice and beans separately. They are high in iron.

Black-eyed Peas They are a creamy white bean with a dark black spot. Brought over from Africa by the slave traders, this little bean has become common fare in the Southern States and a popular southern cuisine. A delicious addition to rice. Black-eyed peas with onion, garlic and tomato sauce is a delectable dish.

Broad Beans These beans grow in Manitoba, Canada and range in color from white to brown. They may have a slightly bitter taste.

Chick Peas Commonly called garbanzo beans. This is a meaty, sweet bean that has been used for thousands of years in the Mediterranean area. They are delicious in salsa, casseroles and soups. When blended into a smooth paste, they produce the Middle Eastern specialties, humus and falafel. We encourage you to taste these delicate peas. Especially good for sprouting.

Kidney Beans These delicious red beans are the most famous of all legumes, being the main ingredient in chili. We will be giving you a meatless, greaseless chili recipe later on in this chapter. If you ever decide to visit New Orleans, you will probably be served a bowl of kidney beans and rice which has become a traditional lunch on Mondays.

Lentils One can only picture Esau coming home, famished, after days of hunting, smelling the full-bodied aroma of lentil stew. It became the most expensive pot of stew that was ever made.

In the legume family, lentils are second highest in protein, only to be bettered by soybeans. They do not need to be presoaked and can be cooked in 45 minutes. Lentils come in a variety of colors, green being the most common. They make an excellent soup and can be pureed into lentil patties. A popular food in the Middle East. They can be sprouted in 2 days, becoming crisp and sweet. A great addition to salads.

Lima Beans Lima beans come in two sizes, baby or butter beans. If at all possible, choose the smaller type because the larger butter beans lose their skin during cooking. Lima beans are grown in California and Ontario. They are remarkable in vegetable casseroles and soups.

Mung Beans These are the most commonly used beans for sprouting, and are found in most grocery stores. They can also be cooked in soups or ground into flour.

Pinto Beans These are in the kidney bean family and have a speckled color. They are an excellent replacement of kidney beans in chilies.

Split Peas These come in the familiar green and yellow color. The whole pea is dried, their skins removed and they are split in half. They are wonderful in soups and do not need to be soaked before cooking. Split pea soup is one of our family’s favorite dishes.

White Beans There is a number of varieties and can all be used in soups, casseroles and stews.

Whole Peas A dry pea that can be used the same as fresh peas.

Related Articles: Bean RecipesThe Versatile Soybean

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