Disease-Prevention Foods – Beans & Legumes
Adzuki, red, black eyed peas
Beans are one of the best sources of fiber on the planet. And most of us do not get nearly enough fiber. Fiber protects us in ways that probably haven’t been fully and completely understood, but we do know that higher-fiber diets are associated with lower risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Overall, a cup of generic cooked beans will give you anywhere from 11 g (kidney beans) to an amazing 17 g (adzuki) per serving. That’s phenomenal. A cup of cooked beans a day can lower your total cholesterol by up to 10% in a mere six weeks. Beans are also the ultimate low-glycemic food, since their high fiber content means they raise blood sugar very, very slowly. Then there’s cancer. Researchers found a significant reduced frequency of breast cancer in women who consumed a higher intake of beans and lentils. One phytochemical in beans – diosgenin – appears to inhibit cancer cells from multiplying. According to one study, men who consumed the most beans had a 38% lower risk of prostate cancer than men who consumed the least. Finally, if that weren’t enough, beans are loaded with antioxidants and are a good source of protein
, typically containing 15 g per cup.Garbanzo
Garbanzos, or chickpeas, belong to the class of food called legumes or pulses, which also includes beans, lentils, and peas. Eating more legumes can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to their high fiber content. Fiber can also lower blood cholesterol levels and slow the absorption of sugar, which is hugely important both for people with diabetes and for people with and blood sugar challenges (Metabolic Syndrome). Chickpeas have calcium and magnesium in a 1:1 ratio, a decent amount of folate, and a ton of heart-healthy potassium (477 per cup!). They even contain the powerful antioxidant selenium. All this, plus the vegetable equivalent of 2 ounces of protein.Green Peas
Peas are actually legumes that originated in western Asia. There are probably more than 1,000 varieties of garden peas, the most common of which are the smooth peas you usually find frozen in the supermarket. Peas are a little high in sugar as legumes (or vegetables) go, but that’s balanced by the fact that 100 g – a little more than ˝ cup – of cooked peas has 5.5 g of fiber. And think of green peas as an adjunct for bone health. One hundred grams of peas contain 30% of the Daily Value for vitamin K, an important vitamin that helps anchor calcium to the places in the bone where you need it to be.
The real claim to fame for lentils is that they’re so loaded with fiber
, which helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. High fiber diets are always associated with lower risk of a multiple of diseases. And a cup of lentils contains a nice amount of protein – about 18 g – as well as a whopping 16 g of fiber.Lentils
The real claim to fame for lentils is that they’re so loaded with fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. High fiber diets are always associated with lower risk of a multiple of diseases. And a cup of lentils contains a nice amount of protein – about 18 g – as well as a whopping 16 g of fiber.