Why Beans Top Our Superfood List August 22, 2016

by Behind the Scenes

 We’re spilling the beans on one of the most underrated and mind-blowingly nutritious foods out there. They may be tiny, but beans definitely top our superfood list. Continue reading to learn why…

superfood list-beans-HelloFresh

We soak, boil, sauté, roast, and mash beans. They’re tossed into salads, piled high onto taco shells, and pureed into dips and hearty soups. Odds are you have these small but mighty gems hiding somewhere in the pantry but never realized how awesome they are. That’s about to change.

We did some digging and talked to our expert dietitian, Rebecca, to get the lowdown on all-things beans. Here’s what you need to know about the inexpensive, delicious, and incredibly nutritious ingredient coming in at number one on our superfood list:

What exactly are they?

Beans are the edible seeds of pods. They fall under the legume family and are related to lentils, peanuts, and peas. Dating back at least 4,000 years, beans are among the oldest foods known to humanity.

superfood list-beans-HelloFresh

What’s so awesome about them?

Although small, beans pack a mighty nutritional punch.

  • Loaded with protein

Most legumes contain 17-25% protein, which is roughly double the amount in grains and higher than that of most meat and eggs.

  • Heart-healthy

People who eat more legumes have a lower risk of heart disease, thanks in part to their high concentration of potassium and magnesium. Together, the two elements remove sodium and water from your cardiovascular system while regulating blood pressure.

  • Full of fiber

The fiber in beans provides you with a sustained supply of energy, staves off hunger, and helps you maintain a healthy body weight. Plus, it stabilizes the rise of blood sugar that occurs after eating, which can also help stabilize your mood.

  • Rich in iron

Beans are a perfect meat substitute thanks to their high concentration of iron. To put it in perspective, one cup of boiled black beans provides 29% of our daily recommended iron intake.

Nutrition isn’t their only claim to fame  beans are also sustainable.

By enriching the soil, they reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. Additionally, they require very little irrigation and boast one of the lowest carbon footprints of any food group.

And the cherry on top? Beans are an incredibly affordable source of plant-based protein.

In fact, the cost per serving is just $0.10 compared to $0.63 for chicken, $0.73 for pork, and $1.40 for beef.

superfood list-beans-HelloFresh

What’s the difference between each type?

Of the over 40,000 varieties of beans out there, our four favorites are black beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans.

Black Beans:

  • Appearance: small and black with an ivory flesh
  • Taste: earthy, slighty sweet taste that pairs well with smoky chipotle flavors
  • How to use: puree into a hearty soup or add to salads

Cannellini Beans:

  • Appearance: beige and kidney-shaped
  • Taste: creamy flavor
  • How to use: perfect for garlic bean dips

Chickpeas:

  • Appearance: tan, round, and slightly wrinkled
  • Taste: nutty and buttery flavor
  • How to use: puree into a hummus dip or deep-fry into falafel

Kidney Beans:

  • Appearance: deep red with a tough skin
  • Taste: robust, full-bodied flavor
  • How to use: key ingredient in chili and other Creole-inspired dishes

Put your legume knowledge to good use by trying your hand at homemade hummus — you won’t believe how easy it is.

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1 comment

JACK KING says:

I believe beans compete for the top position also. Loaded with vitamins,protein,etc. Problem is as long as you do not have calcium oxalate kidney stones. If you do then beans are a no no. Lima beans occasionally are all you are allowed. I have been with beans now for over 5 years,when I found pout about stones are calcium oxalate stones.There are many other foods I can not eat like any with the word berry in it. That is right no strawberries, blueberries,black berries,cherries,fruit cocktail,raspberries and on and on. No chocolate,no nuts,no cocoa,no tomatoes or tomato sauce,no corn,no tea of any kind. Actually the list of what I am allowed is easier to remember since hardly any thing is on it.Be thankful you do not have calcium oxalate stones and can eat beans.

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