beans 2

Healthy Benefits

Disease Prevention and Risk Reduction

Researchers at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute conducted a study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, to determine the health effects of ten legumes, mostly beans. They measured blood cholesterol in subjects with and without high cholesterol, and blood glucose and insulin in subjects with and without diabetes. They concluded that legumes are useful as a low glycemic index food and have the potential to lower cholesterol levels, and that this is a “scientific basis for considering legumes as functional foods (foods with health-promoting effects).” The benefits were thought to derive from the high content of soluble fiber in beans.

Important Points

Many varieties of beans contain toxic compounds with kidney beans having the highest level. The toxin is destroyed through two measures:

  • Temperature should exceed boiling point (212°F/100°C) for at least ten minutes  OR
  • Soak beans for five hours and always bring to the correct temperature

When beans and grains are combined in a meal, they contain the full complement of amino acids needed to form a complete protein comparable to meat and dairy. This is important in times when protein sources are scarce.


Reinhard, Tonia. Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2010. Print.

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