Want to improve your health, help the environment and save cash? Eat more beans! The humble bean is an absolute powerhouse of nutrition, packed with soluble fibre to promote a healthy digestive system, protein to build lean muscle and antioxidants to fight nasty free radicals.
Eating more beans is also good news for the environment, as legumes requires much less energy to produce than meat and generate less carbon. Swapping a couple of meat meals for beans each week could even help you save money – legumes are incredibly cost-effective, and you may find you can find your whole family for the price of one steak.
Full Of Fibre
In recent years, fiber consumption has been on a steady decline - to the detriment of both our hearts and our waistlines. Beans are fantastic source of fiber, helping balance cholesterol levels, and promoting healthy digestion function. A cup of cooked beans provides about 12 grams of fiber – almost half the recommended daily amount for an adult.
Packed With Protein
Beans are a great source of low-fat protein. A cup of beans contains 42 g of protein (the same as a 175 g steak) but with less than a quarter of the saturated fat. Plant protein is also much easier for your digestive system to break down and utilize compared to meat protein. Bean’s high protein content make them ideal for anyone looking to lose or control their weight – helping keep you fuller for longer and making that 3pm candy bar easier to resist.
Rich In Antioxidants
A study by a team of USDA nutritionists recently listed beans as one of the food groups with the highest antioxidant capacity, with small red beans (like adzuki), red kidney beans and pinto beans as three of the top four foods on the list. Antioxidants are a group of phytochemicals that support your body’s cellular health, and prevent harmful free radical damage.
For their cost and availability, beans are one of the best foods we can add to our daily diet. According to dietary guidelines, we should be eating up to three cups of beans per week – but most of us are eating less than a third of that. For a simple and delicious way to increase your intake of these superfoods, try this easy protein-packed brownie recipe.
Recipe: Flourless Adzuki Red Bean Brownie
No flour, Butter, Refined Sugar
These brownies have a lovely soft fudge texture and are gluten free. You could also use black beans or chickpeas for this recipe. Healthy, easy and delicious - the best kind of dessert or on-the-go snack.
- 1 can low-sodium adzuki red beans, rinsed and drained (also can replace with black beans)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of freshly ground or instant coffee (optional)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or grated chocolate
- Preheat oven to 175C. Grease a nonstick baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhand on all sides.
- Blend the beans, eggs, cocoa powder, honey, coconut oil, baking powder and coffee in the blender until smooth and pour into a bowl. Fold in chocolate chips until combined. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake the brownies until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Allow brownies to cool completely before slicing them into squares.