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Beans and Blood
Ernie Gray, CDBAB Chairman, provided the following excerpts from the Miracle of Nature’s Healing Foods, an investing publication by J.E. O’Brien (Globe Communications Corp. 1189 Globe Mini Mag 231) available from Globe Communications Corp., 5401 N.W. Broken Sound Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33487.
Beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas are warehouses of plant protein wrapped in beneficial fiber and free of the fats, harmful chemicals and industrial additives that accompany protein found in meats. In addition, legumes also contain a set of chemicals called protease inhibitors which actually neutralize the cancer causing free radicals called hydroxyl radicals, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.
One cup of dried beans a day can reduce total cholesterol 19% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by about the same, according to investigators at the University of Kentucky. Eating beans regularly also lowers blood pressure, exports report.
The same amount of beans has the almost magical ability to control insulin and blood sugar levels so well that Type I diabetics (the kind who need daily shots of insulin) can reduce the amount of insulin by 38% or more. For Type II diabetics, the adult onset sufferers who do not produce enough insulin, legumes can virtually eliminate the need for insulin shots and often other diabetes drugs as well. What’s necessary is replacing meat with beans or peas as the source of protein in your diet, according to University of Kentucky authority Dr. James Anderson. The high content of gummy and pectin fiber produces the regulating effect.
A side-benefit of the large supply of these kinds of fiber is that they stifle hunger, keeping you from eating too many high-calorie foods, and promote the excretion of sodium, which is good for your blood pressure. Beans also make your digestive system work the way nature intended it to by regulating the function of the colon, preventing and curing constipation and preventing hemorrhoids and other bowel problems. Beans are rich in anti-cancer substances called lignans. Friendly bacteria in the colon, lignans convert into hormone-like substances which scientists say may fight off breast and colon cancers.
On the practical side, please note that canned baked beans work as well as the dried beans you painstakingly prepare yourself. A 7.5 ounce can supplies a therapeutic dose, says Dr. Anderson, and can lower blood cholesterol by 12% or more in a few weeks. A one-half cup of cooked beans contains the following:
Black Beans – 132 calories, less than 1 g fat and 10 g fiber.
Kidney Beans – 127 calories, less than 1 g fat and 9.5 g fiber.
Pinto Beans – 131 calories, less than 1 g fat and 10 g fiber.
White Beans – 143 calories, less than 1 g fat and 8 g fiber.
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Beans and Fiber
Edible Dry Beans – The High Fiber Food of the 21st Century
Today, beans are recognized by many health-related groups, including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association as an extremely beneficial addition to most diets.
That’s because they’re high in complex carbohydrates, protein and dietary fiber, low in fat and sodium, and completely cholesterol-free.
It’s long been recognized that increasing the fiber content in our diets promotes a healthy digestive tract and reduces the risk of many types of cancer. And fiber also plays a significant role in lowering high blood cholesterol rates, one of the main risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease.
Beans are one of the best sources of fiber available, and they’re an excellent source of protein as well. In fact, a one pound can of beans contains more protein than a pint of milk, yet ounce for ounce, fewer calories and fat than eggs, meat or cottage cheese.
It’s no wonder the American Academy of Science and the National Research Foundation agree that dry beans are sure to be the high fiber food of the 21st century!
Nutritional Value of 100g Can of Baked Beans
ENERGY 64kcals (270KJ) PROTEIN 5.1g
    Saturated fat 0.08g     Sugars 5.2g
    Polyunsaturated 0.25g     Starches 5.1g
    Cholesterol 0mg
IRON 1.4mg CALCIUM 45mg
SODIUM 480mg
Fiber Content of Beans Compared With Other Fiber-Rich Foods
    Kidney beans, canned 20.9g
    Navy beans, dried, cooked 23.0g
    Pinto beans, dried, cooked 24.1g
    Banana, raw 7.3g
    Orange, raw 11.4g
    Pineapple, canned 9.5g
    Oat bran 15.7g
    Corn flakes 1.6g
    Puffed wheat 7.2g
Nutritional Composition of Beans With Recommended Daily Intake
225g of
Rec. Daily
By Beans
% of Rec.
Protein (g) 10.1 63 16
Fat (g) 1.1 NS
Carbohydrate (g) 29.5 NS
Calories 162 2,510 6
Calcium (mg) 102 500 20
Iron (mg) 3.8 10 38
Vitamin A (g) 110 750 15
Vitamin B (mg) 0.15 1 15
Vitamin B (mg) 0.11 1.6 7
Nicotinic Acid Equivs (mg) 2.9 18 16
Vitamin C (mg) 6.6 30 22
Vitamin D (g) - 10 -
Dietary Fiber (g) 16.3 NS
- = Nil
NS = Not Specified
* = Recommended daily intake for sedentary man aged 18-35
Information Courtesy of National Dry Bean Council
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Beans and Folate
Why You Need Folate
Even though many of us are familiar with folate and its positive effect on reducing birth defects, there’s increasing evidence that this B-vitamin, naturally found in abundance in beans, may also be important in reducing the risk of vascular disease and coronary death.
Canadian research has linked low blood levels of folate to increased odds for fatal coronary heart disease. A study of more than 5,000 people found that those in the quarter of the group with the lowest folate levels were 69 percent more likely to die of a coronary problem than those in the quarter with the greatest reserve of the vitamin. The data shows that as folate levels dropped, risk of death rose in a stepwise fashion. Folate appeared most protective in women and in people under age 65. An interesting finding in all age groups was that risk increased even at folate levels that are presently considered normal. The study was published in the June 26, 1996 issue of JAMA (Vol 275, pp. 1896-1896).
In a 1995 review of work exploring the relationships among homocysteine levels (homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood), folate and blood vessel disease (JAMA, vol. 274, pp. 1049-1057), University of Washington researchers proposed that increasing folate intake might prevent as many as 50,000 heart attack deaths a year. Folate may protect against heart disease because it breaks down homocysteine and allows it to be cleared from the blood stream. Among the studies reviewed by the University of Washington was Tufts University research which showed for the first time that inadequate intake of folate is the main determinant of the homocysteine-related increase in the risk of carotic blockage.
Because our bodies do not produce folate, it’s important to get it from the foods we eat. Foods high in folate include beans, leafy green vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and whole cereal grains. Of all these, beans are the most concentrated source of folate. A mere cup of beans is packed with almost half the folate needed for a day.
How much folate?
Bean Variety (Cooked) Folate (mcg/cup)
Cranberry 364
Blackeye 358
Pinto 292
Pink 283
Garbanzo (chickpeas) 282
Baby Lima 273
Black 256
Navy 255
Small White 246
Great Northern 180
Large Lima 156
Kidney 131
* Source: National Nutrient Databank of the USDA
Information refers to cooked, dry packaged beans
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Nutritional Profile
Beans and Your Health – How Beans Contribute to a Healthier Life
Nutrition Profile of Cooked Dry Beans
Serving Size: 1 cup = 230 Calories
Nutrient Amount % US RDA
Protein 16.0 g 35
Iron 5.4 mg 30
Zinc 2.1 mg 14
Thiamin .30 mg 20
Folacin 123 mg 30
Magnesium 92 mg 23
Copper .5 mg 25
Manganese 1 mg 40
Potassium 620 mg *
Fiber 9 mg *
Cholesterol 0.0 mg *
Sodium 10 mg *
Fat 1.5 g *
*No U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance has been established for this nutrient.
Bean Nutrition
PROTEIN: Dry beans are the richest source of vegetable protein (21-27% when cooked). Combining beans with a small amount of animal protein such as meat, cheese, or egg or small amounts of grain (corn, wheat, or rice) will create a complete protein equal to that of meat and other animal sources. Protein is important for human health because it supplies the materials for building and repairing body tissues, muscles, bones, glands, skin, and teeth. Beans consistently rank lowest of all foods in cost per gram of protein, according to the USDA.
ENERGY: Beans have long been valued as an energy source. Complex carbohydrates in dry beans digest more slowly than simple carbohydrate foods thereby satisfying hunger longer. One half cup of cooked beans contains 118 calories or less.
VITAMINS: A normal serving of cooked dry beans supplies as much as 40% of the minimum daily requirement of the B-vitamins, thiamine and pyridoxine, and significant amounts of other B-vitamins. The B-vitamins contribute to healthy digestive and nervous systems, skin and eyes.
MINERALS: Iron to build red blood cells, calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth, and potassium, which is important in regulating body fluid balance, all plentiful in dry beans. Beans are high in fiber, contain no cholesterol, and are low in sodium. Sodium content is low so, when cooked without salt, they are good in low-salt diets.
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