A Great Source of Protein

That common food source that is higher in protein than beef, the common bean. Yup, just a regular bean. Beans contain about 22% protein, beef runs about 18% and eggs settle at 13%. I am sure we have all eaten many types of beans and have our own favorites. Chickpeas, lentils and Fava Beans have been found in Egyptian tombs that date back at least 4000 years, so they are nothing new. Many cultures today owe their existence in some way to the bean, as a food source.

Why all this talk about beans?!!!

Beans are one of nature’s healthiest foods – they are naturally low in total fat, and provide important nutrients such as fiber, protein, calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium. Wow, give me some beans!

What is it about soaking beans? It just helps them cook faster, right? After all they are dried!

Let’s take a trip back to the old days, before modern processed food and when time was not as important as nutrition. Beans are a seed and seeds don’t grow unless they are watered, why? Enzyme inhibitors keep seeds from sprouting until they are watered. Water neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid allowing the nutrients to be accessed by the seed, or you if it is eaten. So, now you see why soaking all beans is so very important, otherwise your body loses access to over 50% of the nutrients. And, all these years the common knowledge on soaking was just to rehydrate the bean, now you know the truth. Even raw nuts need soaking, check out this great article Shannon wrote on the topic, Raw Nuts: How to Soak and Why?

Ok, so what about cooking these wonderful protein packed food sources. Again, today many go just for fast methods and pull out the pressure cooker, even many cooking shows will show this method. But, remember we are working here to get the maximum nutrition out of the bean – not speed of prep. Grandma knew the real deal, she would use the crock-pot and simmer the beans for hours. How good did those baked beans taste?! Yup, nothing was that good!!! Little did we know that all that simmering was actually preserving the enzymes and nutrients in the foods by keeping the temperature low and without pressure. Who knew healthy could taste so good.

So if fast is bad, then guess what?

Get rid of that can of beans. Canned beans produced under high heat and pressure do have reduced phytate content. Though the canning process leads to overdenatured proteins and other nutrients. Canned beans are best eaten in reduced amounts, if at all. After all canning is just like using a pressure cooker!

Take sometime this weekend to slow down and join me in a great bowl of cooked beans or some wonderful bean dish, Multi-Bean & Vegetable Soup. The fall weather is great for this food type as it will heat you up from the inside out as you watch the game.

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Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

About Jeff

Jeff Pearce is a board certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant and has coached hundreds of people in the Dallas/Fort Worth to help them achieve their health goals. If you would like more information about his services view the Health Consultations section. For those not in the physical area Distance Coaching is an option. A 15 minute "No Cost" informational consult is available, by phone, to chat and answer questions about services. To schedule your no cost informational consultation please contact us .

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