Most of us probably are not getting enough beans in our diet. They pack a real nutritional punch, loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and even rich in antioxidants. They make a low calorie, high protein snack - one cup of beans contains a little over 200 calories but a whopping 10-15 grams of protein. They're the ultimate convenience food too, and can really help stretch the smallest of food budgets.
Beans are a high source of fiber, which is really important to stay slim but also wards off the risk of colon cancer too. It is recommended that women consume between 25-30 grams of fiber a day. However, most of us consume only half of that, leaving many of us chronically constipated, fatigued, and frustrated by our inability to lose weight. The good news is that, with a little imagination, beans can play a tasty and important role in your weight loss goals.
Consuming adequate fiber is essential for any weight loss plan, for two reasons. The high fiber content in beans makes you feel full and satisfied for longer. This stabilizes your blood sugar levels and reduces your appetite, both vital factors for losing weight. Another added bonus is that beans are high in soluble fiber, which can help to reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Beans are often overlooked as a quality source of low fat protein. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, beans provide a quality heart-healthy complete protein, but without the saturated fat of animal protein. A lot of dieters stick to high animal protein diets which can be helpful for weight loss. However these animal sources provide no fiber, so dieters end up constipated. The fat content in animal protein can easily end up being stored by your body, whereas if you eat too much vegetable protein, it is simply eliminated by your body as waste. There is a place in the diet for lean cuts of animal meat and dairy, but substituting beans for meat at a few meals will be great for your health.
Cooking beans is easy, although you can even just use canned beans. Just be sure to buy the low sodium variety and rinse the beans well. Also don't go crazy right away on beans - give your digestive system a little time to adjust. Introduce them gradually until your body gets used to them.