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Eat Beans To Lower Cholesterol — an article on the Smart Living Network
January 4, 2010 at 6:28 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Eat Beans To Lower Cholesterol

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Beans: A General Overview

Legumes are a class of vegetables that contains beans in addition to peas and lentils. Legumes contain high amounts of nutritional value and are extremely versatile in their use. Beans are high in concentrations of fiber, potassium, foliate, iron, magnesium, while containing no cholesterol. Beans are also typically low in fat and calories. Additionally, beans are a healthy substitute for meat products as a good source for protein.

Beans: Types and Uses

There are a variety of beans that are used in a variety of ways for the production of great tasting foods. The following is a list of beans typically available at the local market or grocery store, in addition to common uses.

  • Chickpeas: Also known as garbanzo beans and ceci beans. Commonly used in minestrone soup, stew, hummus and casseroles.
  • Black Beans: Also known as Spanish beans, used in many Mexican dishes, rice, soup, and stew.
  • Soy Nuts: Also known as roasted soybeans or soybean seeds. Used as a handy snack and for salads.
  • Adzuki Beans: Used in Japanese and Chinese cuisine for rice dishes.
  • Fava Beans: Used for side dishes and stews.
  • Lima Beans: Also known as butter or Madagascar beans; used for casseroles, salads, soups, and succotash.
  • Red Kidney Beans: Used in Cajun dishes, bean salad, chili, and stews.
  • Lentils: Commonly used in salads, stews, soups and side dishes.
  • Anasazi Beans: Used for southwestern recipes, soups, and refried beans.
  • Black-eyed-peas: Also know as frijoles and cowpeas, for use in casseroles, curry dishes, fritters, salads, and southern dishes containing ham and rice.
  • Edamame: Also known as green soybeans are commonly utilized in salads, casseroles, soups, rice, pasta, and side dishes.

Beans: A Wealth of Nutritional Value

Beans provide a wealth of nutritional value, including protein. Beans also provide high amounts of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Dietary fiber has long been associated with good overall general health.

Fiber 101

There are actually two types of fiber, including soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber are not actually digested, but instead is used to regulate processing in the digestive tract. Soluble fiber is mixed with liquid to become gelatinous, where insoluble fiber does not mix readily with liquid. Insoluble fiber is responsible for controlling and providing balance to pH within the intestines, in addition aiding in the movement of digested food. Soluble fiber is responsible for extending the amount of time that the stomach is emptied, in addition to binding with fatty acids. Soluble fiber is associated with lowering total cholesterol levels, including LDL levels. Soluble fiber is also correlated with the ability to aid in the regulation of blood glucose (sugar) levels with individuals that have the condition of diabetes.

Sources:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2007/071128.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/legumes/NU00260

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/NCR332.pdf

Photo Credit: niznoz

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