It is just the beginning of a new year. Our resolutions are taking off and with that including eating healthier than ever. As we celebrate the National Bean Day and all the benefits that beans provide. Let’s think about fiber. We know that that fiber is essential for good health, but adequate consumption of fiber-rich foods is still a challenge for most people.
So, beans come to the rescue, being a precious gift of Mother Nature, beans are an excellent and natural source of fiber. Consequently, beans offer significant health benefits, including but not limited to positive glucose management in diabetes control, lowering cholesterol levels in heart disease, alleviating constipation, increasing the sensation of fullness during weight management, and so on. When considering all the health benefits beans are a very sound and healthy investment.
Sometimes is okay to buy foods with “added fiber” but beans are naturally high in fiber, so there is no need to pay extra for added fiber. Beans are one of the most affordable sources of plant protein, and one of the most versatile foods as different types can be included at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Adding fiber to the diet using beans may not be easy for some people, but we can find healthy ways by combining beans with any of the food groups including other legumes, fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats and low fat dairy. So, not only in January, but all year around, think about beans as part of your side dish or main entrée. For an individualized meal plan, and ideas in how to include beans into your daily meal plan please consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist. For now keep in mind some of these ideas:
Black bean tostadas topped with mango/chipotle salsa
Enfrijoladas (bean version of enchiladas)
Bean soup with three or more types of beans
Rice and beans
Araceli Vázquez, MS, RDN, LD
Illustrations by Alexader Vázquez, Intern