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Beans (also known as legumes or pulses) belong to an extremely large category of vegetables, containing more than 13,000 species and are second only to grains in supplying calories and protein to the world's population. Compared to grains, though, legumes supply about the same number of calories but usually two to four times as much proteins. Despite their small size, beans pack a surprisingly rich and varied array of substances that are vital for good health.
Beans are an essential part of any healthful diet. The federal government recommends about half a cup a day of beans, counting them as both a protein and a vegetable since they have the best of both worlds. Beans are excellent sources of fiber, folate, plant protein, plant iron, vitamin B1, and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper, all while being naturally low in sodium.
Yet Americans dont know beans: 96% of Americans dont even make the measly minimum recommended intake of beans, chickpeas, split peas or lentils. The same percentage of Americans dont eat their greens every day. Two of the healthiest foods on the planet are greens and beans, but hardly anyone even consumes the minimum recommended amount. As a team of researchers from the National Cancer Institute noted, this is just another piece added to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nations diet in crisis.
But how should we get …
Some people don't enjoy the health benefits of beans as they should because they often consider them an ‘incomplete' protein. This is because they don't contain all the essential amino acids that we need in our diet, as opposed to ‘complete' protein found in foods of animal origin, such as meat, fish, dairy products and eggs, which contain ample amounts of the essential amino acids.
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