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NOURISH

Five reasons why beans are magical after all

Pulses, the food group that includes beans, lentils and peas, may be the missing link to helping you slim down. Studies have shown that pulses improve our body's ability to burn calories and fat. Thanks to dietary fiber, they also help us to feel full longer. 

  1. Gluten-free – For those looking for less gluten, beans (and all pulses) are a great way to enrich your diet. There are bean and pea flours, like chickpea flour, which can be used for baking; however, be a label-reader. Keep an eye out for added wheat flour or wheat starch to make sure your selection is gluten-free.
  2. Low in fat – The fat content in beans is less than two percent and, for the most part, unsaturated, which is the type of fat you want in your diet. Beans are also cholesterol-free, which keeps your heart happy.
  3. Inexpensive source of protein – Beans are a protein powerhouse with the added bonus of being much lower in saturated fat than animal proteins and much less expensive. Not only a great source of protein, but replacing a hamburger with a black bean burger will help you feel full longer due to its fiber content. Legumes also provide your body with much-needed iron, so are a go-to for non-meat eaters to get this important mineral.
  4. Variety – Pulses come in every shape, size, color and flavor you can think of. If you're not a fan of kidney beans, you have chickpeas, lima beans, split peas, navy beans, black eyed peas, brown, green and red lentils (and so many more!) to try. Most grocery stores have a large bulk section chock full of dried beans and there are also many canned bean options. My tip is to always rinse canned beans to remove some of the added salt. Dried beans are naturally very low in sodium.
  5. Shelf life – How many foods come to mind that you can store in your kitchen cupboard for any extended period of time without it getting stinky, rotten or even indistinguishable? Dried beans hold on to their nutritional value for up to three years.

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