As a food, beans can play a role in reducing the risks of developing some chronic conditions and diseases. Edible beans give us the richest source of vegetable protein within our food supply. They are cholesterol free and low in fat, as well as a very high source of dietary fibre. Beans are also an excellent source of energy containing complex carbohydrates as well as a host of vitamins, minerals (see the chart) and other phytonutrients.
The bean’s mix of dietary fibre and complex starches give beans an attractively low Gylcemic Index (GI). Bean-rich diets have been shown to prolong satiety. Because they are digested slowly blood sugars rise slowly and do not peak at levels as high as starch rich diets. For this reason beans are recommended in the management of diabetes. Beans have been noted to impart other health benefits in that they may help in the control of intestinal disorders (colorectal cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome) and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Soaking and cooking times in hard water or at altitudes are longer.