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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Cool Beans

I simply cannot look at beans without secretly singing the bean songs in my head (or sometimes out loud if I'm home alone). You know the ones, "Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you eat.. beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat..." Of course beans aren't a fruit but hey, it rhymes and it's cute!

Nevertheless, those songs pop up a lot because I absolutely love beans. I mean what's not to love? There are tons of varieties, each with a unique taste (i.e. black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans are as different as apples, oranges and pears), they're super versatile, very filling, and they're nutritional all stars.

Beans are low in calories (about 120 per half cup, the size of a mini fruit cup), and rich in dietary fiber (which helps lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, and keep our digestive systems healthy), protein (to build and maintain our muscles), folate (which prevents birth defects and is linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's), iron (for healthy blood), potassium (for blood pressure control), and even some calcium (for healthy bones). And, they have no dietary cholesterol and are nearly fat free. Is that impressive or what?

All that good stuff is probably what links beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and even obesity. Did you know that adult bean eaters have a 22% lower risk of obesity? Pretty cool, huh? And the best part is canned beans count! Because of my busy schedule, I'm the queen of quick (and healthy), so I often rely on canned beans to make speedy meals. My favorites are black beans and brown rice, burritos and taco salads made with whole or vegetarian refried pinto beans, and wraps filled with garbanzo beans and veggies like roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts - yum!

For more info on the health benefits of beans, check out this link:
http://www.aicr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=dc_foods_beans
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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