Beans and legumes can be added to stews, soups, dips, wraps, and casseroles. You prepare them as a side dish or as the main star, which make them such a popular staple in diets all over the world. Beans and legumes are cheap, filling, and nutritious. If you are looking for the best of the bunch, here are some of the healthiest beans and legumes that deserve a spot on the dining table.
Bean and Legume Basics
Beans are legumes, but not all legumes are beans. The legume family has over 18,000 species which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Beans, lentils, and peas are all part of the legume family.
Beans and legumes are low in fat and high in fiber and protein. Generally, legumes are high in fiber and protein, and beans are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Eating lots of beans and legumes can help you fight cancer, lower cholesterol, and prevent heart disease among many other health benefits. If you follow a diet that excludes meat, eating beans and legumes is a great way to get all the protein you need.
With so many kinds of beans and legumes, it might be hard to choose which beans to eat. Fresh beans are quicker to cook and have a sweeter taste to them. However, they may be harder to find than canned beans which are cheap and more available. Dried beans may take a longer time to prepare than canned beans. However if you are watching your sodium intake, stick to dried beans. Canned beans tend to score lower on nutritional content compared to dried beans. An overnight soak will be enough for dried beans. If you are on a pinch, you can always drain canned beans and rinse them to decrease the sodium content.
The Healthiest Beans and Legumes
100 grams of black beans or turtle beans contain 339 calories, 0.9 grams of fat, 63 grams of carbohydrates, and 21 grams of protein. Black beans are legumes that contain a lot of iron, magnesium, and potassium. Black beans are dense and somewhat meaty. Black beans can be added in soups and salads. You can add black beans in bean dips, burritos, fajitas, and vegetarian burgers.
100 grams of black-eyed peas or cowpeas contain 336 calories, 1.3 grams of fat, 60 grams of carbohydrates, and 24 grams of protein. Black beans are high in folate, potassium, and vitamin A. You can find black eyed peas in curries and southern style stews served with rice.
100 grams of garbanzo beans or chickpeas contain 364 calories, 6 grams of fat, 61 grams of carbohydrates, and 19 grams of protein. Garbanzo beans have high amounts of folate and manganese. Garbanzo beans can be added in stews, used as an ingredient in soups and salads, and can be ground into flour. You can find garbanzo beans in falafel, hummus, and chana masala.
100 grams of green beans contain 31 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.8 grams of protein. Green beans have no cholesterol. They contain high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C. Green beans are added to casseroles, and can be roasted and stir-fried as well.
100 grams of kidney beans contain 333 calories, 0.8 grams of fat, 60 grams of carbohydrates, and 24 grams of protein. Kidney beans are high in folate, manganese, and vitamin B1.
The kidney bean is not the only red bean out there. While kidney beans are kidney-shaped, there are other read beans like the adzuki bean, which is smaller. Kidney beans can be added to curries, salads, and stews.
100 grams of lentils contain 353 calories, 1.1 grams of fat, 60 grams of carbohydrates, and 26 grams of protein. Lentils are high in folate, manganese, and vitamin B1. Lentils can be added in curries, soups, and stews.
100 grams of lima beans contain 338 calories, 0.7 grams of fat, 63 grams of carbohydrates, and 21 grams of protein. Lima beans are high in iron, folate, potassium, and phosophorus. Lima beans can be baked, added to gratins, scrambled eggs, slaws, stews, and soups.
100 grams of navy beans contain 337 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 61 grams of carbohydrates, and 22 grams of protein. Navy beans are high in folate, manganese, and vitamin B1. Navy beans contain high amounts of folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Navy beans can be added to soups and stews. Navy beans can also be baked.
100 grams of pinto beans contain 347 calories, 1.2 grams of fat, 63 grams of carbohydrates, and 21 grams of protein. Pinto beans are high in copper, folate, manganese, and vitamin B1. Pinto beans can be added to soups and stews. Pinto beans can also be added to rice with other vegetables. It is the main ingredient in frijoles charros.
Soybeans and Edamame
100 grams of soybeans contain 446 calories, 20 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, and 36 grams of protein. Soybeans are high in iron, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin K. Soybeans also contain a lot of antioxidants. Soybeans can be braised, fried, roasted, simmered, and stir-fried.
100 grams of raw edamame contain 147 calories, 6.8 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbohydrates, and 13 grams of protein. Edamame can be added to stews and salads. Edamame can be steamed and roasted as well.
Soybeans and edamame are not exactly the same thing, even if they are the same plant. Soybeans are older, and edamame are younger. Both soybeans and edamame are good for you.
100 grams of split peas contain 341 calories, 1.2 grams of fat, 60 grams of carbohydrates, and 25 grams of protein. Split peas are high in copper, fiber, manganese, folate, and vitamin B1. You can add split peas to curries, fritters, salads, stews, and soups.