The tiny powerhouse of nutrients

Full of Beans

Beans are among the most commonly eaten food throughout the world because of their nutritional composition. If consumed regularly, beans can have the potential to improve the diet quality and long-term health of a person too.

Nutritionally speaking beans are a powerhouse of energy, vitamins and minerals. They are a good sources of protein, iron, phosphorus and potassium also. Most are fat-free and unless canned are low in sodium. They are also a very good source of fibre and offer a small amount of calcium – about 40-80 milligrams per cup.

According to Chef Viswajit Saha, Le’ Shamrock Irish Bar, beans can be used in different dishes as they have a neutral flavour. “One can add beans in main dishes.
Try replacing the meat in recipes with beans, such as a bean enchilada or black bean and cheese quesadilla. In side dishes, baked beans or a bean salad would make a great addition to any meal.

And in salads add beans for nutrition, colour and texture.”
One can also add beans to pasta dishes which will provide another dimension of flavour and enhance the appearance of the dish. In soups, pureed beans can be used to replace cream or higher-fat ingredients and in dips and spreads, bean dips and spreads make a great snack or appetiser.

“In baked items, replace all or part of the fat ingredients with mashed or pureed beans such as brownies and cookies. Beans will give the baked items additional protein and fibre and reduce fat, cholesterol and calories. Beans can also be eaten raw, sprouted or cooked, ground into flour, curdled into tofu, fermented into soya sauce, tempi and miso. They are excellent in soups and salads,” adds Chef Viswajit.

Chief Chef Sonu Negi, of The Ancient Barbeque, seconds Viswajit on this, “Beans have made their way into a diverse array of cuisines across the globe – from zesty dips to elegant dinner salads and for good reason. Virtually all types of beans including kidney beans, lima beans, black beans, pinto beans and more are not only delicious, but they are a powerhouse of nutrients.”

According to him beans in tomato sauce with creamy polenta is a complete winter meal. It is a vegetarian dish, but still if one wants to include sausages, they should cook it separately, slice it, and serve on top of the finished dish. BBQ Baked Beans and sausage can also be another option. “We turn baked beans into an easy main
dish by adding chicken sausage and collard greens and  serve it with coleslaw and cornbread.”

Eating more beans may also reduce heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity risk in human body. Benefits of using beans on a daily basis have been promoted because studies have show that they help to reduce cholesterol while providing excellent nutritions. When combined with nuts, seeds or grains, they form a complete high-fibre vegetable protein.

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