Beans & Legumes: Lofty Legumes


Beans & Legumes

Dry beans, split peas, lentils and other legumes contain a variety of phytochemicals that scientists are studying for their anti-cancer effects. Several studies have shown their beneficial effect on breast cancer prevention including the Nurses Health Study II (of more than 90,000 women). The women who ate beans and lentils regularly (at least twice per week) were less likely to develop breast cancer than those who only ate them occasionally.
Beans and legumes also contain lignans (which I’ll talk about in more detail soon in another post). Briefly though, lignans help reduce the more aggressive estrogen in the body and therefore, may lower your risk of breast cancer.
Beans and legumes are also a great source of protein and a fabulous source of fiber. Fiber keeps you feeling full and satisfied for longer and as it takes much longer to digest, keeps your blood sugar stable. This helps to curb cravings and can aid in weight loss – a good thing, as weight gain is linked to increased breast cancer risk. Beans are also rich in antioxidants, which protect against those darned free radicals that could damage your cells and lead to cancer. So, if you’re not already eating these lofty legumes regularly, then you should consider doing so.

Added benefits

Legumes are a low-fat, high-protein source of vitamins and minerals. They’ve been shown to lower cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease. They make a great alternative to high-fat meat protein, which is one reason they’re so heart friendly. We’ve talked about their fiber content, but it’s worth mentioning again. Research suggests a high-fiber diet can help reduce your risk of premature death from any cause, most likely because it helps to reduce your risk of some of the most common chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer. I LOVE legumes! In fact, I had a lentil, black bean and veggie stew for dinner last night with a hearty side of broccoli! Maybe that’s why I was inspired to write about these today? There are so many simple ways to use beans and lentils, from adding them to stews and salads, soups and veggie burgers. If you already have a favorite stew or soup recipe, just add them to it!

Never cooked beans from scratch? No problem!

Andrea Myers at Making Life Delicious does a wonderful job of explaining how to soak and cook various types of beans and legumes. You may never need a can again :) Dry Beans and Legumes Cooking Chart

I’m a fan of curry, and this soup is mouthwatering!

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro from Kate at Cookie+Kate (Cookie is her dog ;) curried-red-lentil-soup-with-dried-cherries-and-cilantro Also from the lovely Kate at Cookie+Kate Lentil-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Avocado Green Harissa lentil-chickpea-veggie-burgers-with-avocado-green-harissa-0 Do you aim for at least one meatless day a week? Please share below. email_signoff1

About Alison

Live Everyday. Here’s to your good health. Whole Foods RULE!