Beans (legumes) are amazing. Technically they are a starchy vegetable but packed with protein – about 15g of protein per cup. Here are some of the health benefits:
- Beans are packed with vitamins and nutrients, including copper, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc
- Beans have a lot of fiber – which has all sorts of positive health effects – including making you feel full for longer
- A study of older adults in five countries followed for 5-7 years found for every 1 ounce of daily legume intake, mortality declined 7-8%.
- Bean consumption assists with weight loss
- Eating beans reduces type-2 diabetes risk. Beans have a low glycemic index which helps regulate blood sugar.
- Eating beans reduces LDL (“bad”) Cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease
- Some types of legumes reduce colon cancer risk (notably soybeans)
- They help keep your digestive tract in good running order and regular
- They are relatively inexpensive – especially dried beans.
Now, on to how beans might help save the world. A recent study calculated that if every American substituted beans for beef (not all meat – just beef), 42% of U.S. cropland would be freed up and according to one of the study authors, “the nation could achieve more than half of its Greenhouse Gas reduction goals without imposing any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing.”
Of course, the study authors don’t realistically expect all Americans to stop eating beef and switch to eating more beans. The main point of the study is to highlight the environmental impact of livestock and how our food choices effect the environment. Related IFOD: Why I’m (Still) A Vegan
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