The Almighty Bean. Part 1

For years the general public has held a fear of beans. Perhaps it is the embarrassing “gassy” effect that beans have on the intestinal tract. That gas is good news!

It shows the fiber in the bean is doing its job! The gas is evidence the roughage is being moved through your intestinal tract, as it should be; it isn’t sitting there in your intestinal tract for days (and allowing toxins to develop), as is the case with meat products.

Beans belong to the Legume food group; pastas, lentils, garbanzos (chickpeas), black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, kidney bean, black-eyed peas and a huge variety of more beans are available at any supermarket. Beans can be purchased dry, frozen or in a can. For the person who doesn’t have time to cook dry beans (this process can take a few hours), frozen and canned varieties are available. Frozen is the second best choice, while canned beans are last. The reason for this is simply because frozen beans retain more of their vitamins and minerals, and canned beans are often canned with preservatives, artificial coloring and flavors as well as a tremendous amount of sodium.

When using canned beans, be sure to wash them thoroughly to get rid of that extra sodium. You certainly do not need this extra sodium! Excess sodium can cause bloating, and can contribute to blood sugar problems, so get rid of it. There is enough sodium in the processed foods that we eat on a daily basis; we don’t need any added sodium.

Beans have a high content of insoluble fiber, which helps shuffle cholesterol out of the body. It also helps move food quickly through the intestines (hence, the gas!). This reduces many of the diseases caused by high cholesterol: heart problems, blood pressure and intestinal disorders. Given that beans are loaded with fiber, beans also help to stabilize blood sugar (high or low), and in turn help keep diabetes under control. Studies have shown that just one cup (eight ounces) of any kind of bean dramatically improves blood sugar. It also improves the prompt elimination of all wastes from the intestinal tract.

A diet high in fiber is also helpful in:
Helping to prevent colon cancer
Helpful in alleviating outbreaks of spastic colitis and constipation
Helping to prevent hemorrhoids (more fiber means less strain when evacuating, hence less hemorrhoids)

The National Cancer Institute reports Americans need to consume more fiber; up to 35 grams a day. Along with increasing your fiber intake, also increase your intake of water so as to keep the roughage moving peacefully through your intestines. Raw vegetables and fresh fruits are also a great source of fiber, and when mixed with beans, you’ve got a meal complete in protein, minerals and vitamins.

Beans contain essential antioxidants such as saponins, isoflavones, lignans and phytic acids — all which have been proven to help prevent many different kinds of cancers. For example, isoflavones help kill the powerful estrogens and precancerous cells that can lead to breast cancer. Beans also contain plenty of protein, a whole day’s worth in one serving. Be careful on overdosing on the protein; doing so can cause kidney damage. Stay with the daily-recommended limits.

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