Did you know that beans are not only a major source of protein, but they are also a powerful immune booster?
Beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around. They are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, iron and protein. They are also packed with tons of fiber and are a whole carbohydrate.
So how does eating beans affect the immune system? It is those ever-powerful antioxidants. Studies have found that beans have more antioxidants than blueberries, green tea, turmeric and pomegranates. Why are antioxidants important? They help prevent free radical damage. Free radical damage takes a toll on our immune system. So, eating beans will help boost your immune system.
Some of my clients have told me that they tend to avoid beans because they cause gas. There is a simple solution to that. If you experience lots of gas when eating beans, just take a digestive enzyme.
Here are a few simple ways to serve beans.
- Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, and red peppers) with vinaigrette for a bean salad.
- Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
- Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favorite bean.
- Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.
- Add beans to eggs. Top with avocado and salsa! (see photo)
- Add 1/4 cup pureed beans to your favorite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans. Click here for a black been cupcake recipe.
- Add beans to your favorite soup recipe. With cold and flu season upon us, click here for one of my favorite immune boosting soups. Just add beans or bean puree and you boost both your immune system and nutrition levels even more!
If you’re new to cooking with beans, try these tips:
- Wash and soak dried beans for 8-12 hours before cooking.
- After soaking, rinse, fill a pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, then skim off the foam.
- To aid digestion, add kombu, bay leaf, cumin, anise, or fennel to the water.
- Cover and simmer for the suggested time.
- Remember: only add salt at the end of cooking (about 10 minutes before the beans are done) or it will interfere with the cooking process.
- Quick tip: for speedier prep, boil dried beans for 5 minutes, then soak for 2-4 hours.
- Quickest tip is to use canned beans. Some people find them even easier to digest! Just read your labels and avoid canned beans with added salt or preservatives and rinse thoroughly once you remove them from the can. Organic canned beans are a staple item in my pantry. They are a fast, cheap and easy go-to food for me.
So, what do you think? If you think you would like to learn how to choose and cook healthy foods like beans, I might have something for you. I’ll be teaching a virtual small group fitness and nutrition program starting January 23rd. Click here for the information. If it sounds good to you, just fill out the form at the bottom of the page and I’ll give you a call so I can answer any questions you might have.
I’ll leave you with the question of the day…. “to bean or not to bean”.
Ta, ta for now,