By: Jodie Shield, RD
While beans may not be magical enough to grow a fairy-tale beanstalk, they do work their own kind of magic on our health. Several studies suggest that eating beans may prevent heart disease, reduce one’s risk of developing colon cancer, and help to control diabetes. Although most of these studies were conducted on adults, it’s never too early to start kids eating healthy foods and preventing illness. One way you can do this is by making beans a part of your family’s diet.
Beans are not only a great source of complex carbohydrates and protein (needed for growth), they’re chock full of B vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, and zinc. They’re also a great source of dietary fiber, in particular soluble fiber, and they’re low in fat and cholesterol.
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate (www.choosemyplate.gov), beans are grouped with high-protein foods, such as meat and poultry, and with vitamin-rich vegetables. One-quarter cup of cooked dried beans (such as pinto, kidney, navy, lima, and black beans) counts as a 1 ounce equivalent from the meats and beans group, and in addition it would count as 1/4 cup towards your daily vegetable quota too.
Beans will be in the “lima light” over my next several blog posts, so keep reading. Are you full of any bean questions? Let me hear from you.