I love beans! They are the perfect food for humans, in my opinion they are the ultimate Superfood.
In fact most of the long living populations of the world eat about one cup of beans every day. All over the world beans are a staple food, and for good reasons. They are filling, nutritious, and full of essential minerals. They are a great source of protein (about 7g per 100g cooked), high in fibre (more than 10g per 100g cooked) and low in fat (less than 1g per 100g cooked). There are so many so many varieties to try, from aduki beans to peanuts (yes, a peanut is actually a bean). They can be added to all sorts of dishes and they fill hungry tummies for hours!
So what is a bean? Well it is a seed. It contains a tiny plant with all the nutrients needed to kick start its growth into a whole plant or a giant bean stork! Botanically speaking legumes (beans) are really cool as they are the only plant family that can fix atmospheric nitrogen (it is actually the bacteria living in their roots that do the work). Fixed nitrogen is needed to synthesise amino acids, which are in turn used to build protein molecules. Common sense tells you beans must have some good stuff in there.
Beans are also cheap. With a bit of planning you can feed your family for a couple of meals for a few pounds. Canned beans are great and really convenient. I always use tinned beans for hummus, it is so fast to make your own and you can pimp it up however you fancy. Get creative and add beetroot, carrot, peas, spinach, roasted peppers, chilli or fresh herbs to your bean mix. Hummus is a great sandwich filling, add some green leaves, and slices of tomato, it’s a great alternative to processed meat.
Beans and wind! Yes it can be an issue, especially if you are not used to eating beans. The extra gas is produced by the fermentation of short chain carbohydrates that the body cannot absorb by bacteria in the large intestine. By introducing beans gradually into the diet the types of bacteria in the gut can become adapted to limit digestive problems. It is all the fibre in beans that is so beneficial to the gut as it promotes the growth of good bacteria and draws water into the bowel preventing constipation. Everyone feels better after a good poo!
And if you still are not convinced give Pumpkin and Sprout soups and curries a try. I am sure you will love them. Easy, ready to reheat and eat! All the work is done for you.
Basic Hummus Recipe
1 can of drained chickpeas (or other beans)
1 tbs tahini (sesame seed paste)
1-2 tbs olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of chopped garlic
Salt and paprika to taste
Splash of water to loosen.
Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.
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