Top Pick Of The Week

May 31, 2011

Orca Beans

Beautiful orca beans from Zürsun. Photo courtesy

WHAT IT IS: Heirloom beans: Dried beans far superior in flavor and taste, and far more beautiful to look at, than dried supermarket beans (and don’t even mention canned beans).
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Great texture and superior flavor. Many varieties are beautiful in their markings.
WHY WE LOVE IT: They’re delicious and healthy, packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, and a change of pace from rice, quinoa and other grains.
WHERE TO BUY IT: At specialty food stores nationwide, and online at

.Page 3: Bean Nutrition



People who avoid beans because they’re high in carbohydrates are missing the point.

1. Beans are complex carbohydrates. With complex carbs—which include whole legumes and pulses such as beans and lentils (as well as whole grains), the starch is broken down into sugar slowly. They’re the lower glycemic carbohydrate, as it were; some of the starch is never is turned into sugar at all. Known as resistant starch, it is not digested in the small intestine at all, but passes right through to the large intestine. It thus has no impact on the rise of blood sugar.

2. Beans are packed with protein. Most beans are at least 20% protein.

3. Beans are “almost” complete proteins.

Most beans contain all of the essential amino acids required to make protein, except for one, methionine.* However, methionine is present in grain. So eating bread, cereal, corn, pasta, rice or other grain-based food on the same day creates a complete protein—the same essential nutrition as in meat or seafood. This is how a “rice and beans” diet has sustained poor communities whose members don’t often have meat or fish.

*Soybeans contain methionine, and are complete proteins.

4. Beans are packed with nutrients. A half cup of cooked beans contains 30% to 45% Daily Value of folic acid, a heart-healthy B vitamin that also helps to prevent birth defects and some cancers. Beans are also rich in iron, which helps to prevent anemia, and magnesium, which is important for healthy bones and heart health. They also contain calcium and potassium.

5. Beans are fiber-rich.

They contain about 8 grams of fiber per half cup (nearly a third of one’s daily value). Fiber helps with digestive regularity, weight loss and maintenance; and can help to stave off a number of chronic diseases.

6. Beans are low in fat and are cholesterol-free. While beans have a good amount of carbohydrate, these are good carbs (unrefined). The government and nutritionists counsel us to eat more beans.

Your healthcare professionals will concur: Eat more beans!



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