Heirloom Bean Nutrition​

heirloom bean nutrition

​​The heirloom beans included in the Soup Beans Survival Kit, are part of the legume family. Legumes ​ produce seeds in a pod and of course, dried heirloom beans are the mature seeds within these pods. (other members of the legume family include lentils, peas, chickpeas, peanuts and soybeans)

​Heirloom beans are nutrient-rich foods. They contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients while providing a moderate amount of calories. Heirloom beans also provide protein, fiber, folate, iron, potassium and magnesium while containing little or no total fat, trans-fat and sodium. Because of their high concentration of healthy nutrients, consuming more heirloom beans in our diet could very well improve overall health. Further,  ​more  and more studies suggest the possibility of ​decreasing the risk of developing ​some diseases, including obesity, many types of cancers and even heart disease.

​Heirloom Beans Contain A Lot of Fiber ​

Nutrition experts recommend that adults consume 25 to 38 grams ​of dietary fiber per day (14 g per 1,000 calories) However, the majority of Americans do not reach this recommendation consistently​. Dietary fiber intake contributes to feelings of fullness or satiety and helps maintain functioning of the digestive system. Beans are a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber. On average, beans provide seven or more grams of total dietary fiber per ½-cup serving​. The consumption of fiber also has been associated with decreasing total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, as well decreasing the risk for developing coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and some gastrointestinal diseases. 

The "Soup Bean" Folate Factor ​

Folate, or its synthetic counterpart, folic acid, is essential for the human body to produce red blood cells. In addition, the development of the nervous system of the human fetus during the early stages of pregnancy relies emphatically on folate. Further, adequate intake of folic acid has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects in new-borns. The good news?

Bio-available folate is found in heirloom beans!

However, some folate can be lost from heirloom soup beans (as well as other legumes) during the soaking and then the cooking process.  

Fast-soaking beans (boiling beans for a short time and then soaking for just an hour) could help keep folate losses in bean soup than a more traditional long soak. To maximize the natural folate content in heirloom beans, some researchers suggests that using the slow-soak method for soup bean preparation in addition to a cooking method that prepares soup beans in 150 minutes or less.

Bean Soup And Heart Disease

Here’s the thing: Elevated blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, are significant contributing factors to heart disease. Research shows that high-plasma levels of homo-cysteine are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Although several studies have shown that folate may actually lower homo-cysteine levels, and therefore, heart disease risk, the topic does remain a bit controversial and more quality research is needed. One thing remains certain: A soup bean diet will include ample fiber (especially soluble fiber) and bio-available B vitamins that are definitely recommended for reducing cardiovascular disease and the attendant risk factors.

Interestingly, several studies have shown that regular consumption of beans can help lower total and LDL cholesterol as well as other risk factors for heart disease. In fact, one study showed a 38 percent lower risk of nonfatal heart attack when a cup of beans (cooked beans) was consumed on a daily basis.

Heirloom Soup Beans And Diabetes

Diabetes too is becoming more prevalent throughout the world as the global obesity epidemic continues. Eating a variety of legumes, including heirloom soup beans, may be valuable not only in the prevention of diabetes but also in the management of blood sugar levels.

Heirloom beans ​ are rich in complex carbohydrates (such as dietary fiber), which are digested more slowly. As a result, bean consumption has been shown to increase feelings of fullness and help regulate plasma glucose and insulin levels after meals. ​Heirloom bean fiber was among the fiber types associated with reducing risk for metabolic syndrome, which includes glucose disturbances and increased risk of diabetes.

According to a recent study, regularly consuming soup beans as part of a low-glycemic-index diet improved blood glucose management, reduced systolic blood pressure and decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Participants with Type 2 diabetes mellitus were placed randomly on a high-legume diet (consuming 1 cup per day) or on a high-insoluble-fiber diet with whole-wheat foods. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a measure of long-term glycemic control, was measured after three months. The group consuming the high-legume diet experienced a significant decrease in HbA1c and reduced their calculated heart disease risk scores.

Heirloom Bean Nutrition And Cancer

Cancer The role of bean-containing diets related to cancer risk has been the subject of ongoing studies. Eating beans may reduce the risk for developing certain types of cancers due to their contribution of bio-active compounds to the diet, including flavonoids, tannins, phenolic compounds and other antioxidants.

​These compounds act to decrease the risk of cancer, as well as other chronic diseases. Other researchers have shown that beans may have a synergistic effect when consumed in a diet containing other antioxidant-rich foods (such as fruits and vegetables) by decreasing oxidation in the body and reducing the overall cancer risk. 

​Bean intake such as soup beans has been associated with a decreased risk of breast, stomach, colorectal, kidney and prostate cancers in human and animal studies. In particular, the dietary fiber content of all kinds of beans including heirloom beans may play a role in reducing the risk of colorectal cancers. For example, a study that examined the impact of dietary fiber intake on the development of colon polyps in a cancer survivor cohort found that people who consumed more fiber, specifically fiber from legumes and cooked green vegetables, including green beans and peas, were less likely to show a recurrence of polyps than others. Soup beans... who would have thought.

How To Cook Dry Beans

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