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Other foods on the list include leafy green vegetables, citrus fruit, sweet potatoes, berries, tomatoes, fish, whole grains, nuts, and fat free milk and yogurt.
Hakan Bahceci, president of CICILS, the International Pulse Trade and Industries Confederation said that the United Nations General Assembly voted recently to declare 2016 as the “International Year of Pulses.” Pulses are crops that include beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. "Pulses can help to increase food security for those with shortages and to tackle the increase of diseases linked to lifestyles such as obesity and diabetes. Plus, they improve cropping systems and are good for farmers," says Bahceci. "The International Year of Pulses will give pulses additional research attention and nutritional programming, which will lead to dietary uptake. Increased pulse consumption will grow both healthy people and a healthy planet. We deeply appreciate the United Nation's dedication to the task."
One cup of cooked beans contains:
260 calories; 1 g fat ( 0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 48 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 15 g protein; 19 g fiber; 201 mg sodium; 726 mg potassium.
The calorie content of one cup of cooked beans is equal to one cup of cooked rice, pasta, or a 7 ounce baked potato.
Nutrition Bonus: Folate (61% daily value), Iron (25% daily value), Magnesium (24% daily value), Potassium (21% daily value), Calcium (15% daily value).
Beans are one of the best sources of dietary fiber, containing both insoluble and soluble fiber. A half-cup serving of cooked dry beans provides about 25 - 30% of the Daily Value of dietary fiber. About 75% of the fiber is insoluble.
Insoluble fiber, generally thought of as "roughage", moves quickly through the digestive system. This is important in our diets because it helps promote a healthy digestive tract and can help to reduce the risk of some types of cancer such as colon cancer. The remaining 25% of the fiber is soluble fiber. During digestion, soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance, which helps the body handle fats, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. Soluble fiber plays a role in helping to lower cholesterol levels.
Beans are an excellent, non-fat source of protein. Just one cup of beans provides as much as 16 grams of protein. One cup of cooked dry beans provides between 21 percent and 27 percent of the USDA Recommended Daily Allowance of protein. (Adults generally need to eat between 50 to 60 grams of protein a day.)
Dry beans are the only vegetable high enough in protein, an important nutrient for maintaining muscle health, to be listed as both a vegetable and a protein on the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. A single half-cup serving of cooked dry beans counts as one, one ounce serving of lean meat and as a full serving of vegetables in the Vegetables group in the USDA Food Pyramid Meat and Beans group.
A daily intake of two cups of cooked dry beans, when part of a low-fat diet, has shown to significantly reduce cholesterol levels in men, and to improve glucose control in diabetics. According to the American Diabetes Association, beans top the list of the top 10 diabetes super-foods. “Whether you prefer kidney, pinto, navy or black beans, you can’t find better nutrition than that provided by beans. They are very high in fiber giving you about 1/3 of your daily requirement in just a ½ cup and are also good sources of magnesium, and potassium. They are considered starchy vegetables but a ½ cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. To save time you can use canned beans, but be sure to drain and rinse them to get rid of as much sodium as possible.”
The nutrition of our beans will surprise you. Aside from all the jokes about bean flatulence, (Do you remember the scene in Mel Brooks’ hilarious comedy, Blazing Saddles?) which can be minimized with proper cooking methods, beans are an outstanding source of protein, which when combined with rice or corn in a meal, supply all the essential amino acids necessary for life. The Aztecs were very wise!
Nutritional and Health Benefits