Beans, Beans, They’re Good for Your Heart….

The more you eat them, the more you fart,
The more you fart, the better you feel,
So eat beans for every meal!

Yep, every kid knows this rhyme and it never fails to produce hoots of laughter. But you might be surprised to know just how true the rhyme really is. Beans really are super for your heart and the rest of your body too. As well as protein, B vitamins, iron, and folic acid, they are also a great source of healthy fibre, which cuts down levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol in your blood and stabilizes your blood sugar levels. They help to protect you from heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.

And the farting part? Well, a new study shows that the odorous hydrogen sulfide gas is produced in cells lining our blood vessels, and its production actually plays a role in lowering blood pressure. The more you fart the better you may feel indeed!

While eating them for every meal may be a bit excessive, it is not a bad idea to get more of them into your diet. (All kinds from adzuki to yankee and everything between). So to that end, here is a quick trick for getting more beans into you:

Photo by CIAT International Centre for Tropical Agriculture

-Meals and recipes are made quickly and easily with tinned beans but they can be expensive and often have unhealthy additions like salt. On the other hand, cooking dried beans can be time-consuming, making them impractical for that last-minute meal plan. But- there is another answer. When you have time, cook up a big batch of beans, and then freeze them in single serving sizes. You get the convenience of the pre-cooked tinned beans without the expense or additives. Here’s how:

-There is debate about whether or not to pre-soak beans. Some people say pre-soaking and then pouring off the soaking liquid helps reduce the aforementioned gas-producing powers of the beans, by washing out some of the complex starches (oligosaccharides). Personally I don`t bother. I find my beans cook just fine without pre-soaking, and, like most people, I have discovered that eating beans regularly solves the `gas`problem as your body becomes used to them. (If not, there is always Beano, or, if all else fails, these special Japanese undergarments).

Cooking and Freezing Dried Beans:
1. Sort and rinse your beans. Discard any small stones or beans that look wrinkled or damaged.
2. Pour enough water over the beans to cover with several extra inches. Discard the few bad beans that float immediately to the top. As the beans cook, they will expand to about 2 1/2 times their dry size, so be sure and use a large enough pan and enough water to accommodate this.
3. Cook the beans at a rolling boil for a full 10 minutes (especially kidney beans- raw beans have a toxin that must be neutralized), before turning the heat down and simmering the beans until tender (times will vary depending on the type and amount of bean. If you have a dutch oven you can use the method outlined on this blog to have fully cooked beans in 90 minutes). For some beans you may need to skim some foam off the water as they cook.
4. That’s it for the cooking. I don’t add salt or other seasonings until using the cooked beans in a recipe.
5. When the beans are cooked, rinse them several times in very cold water to cool them down quickly. Then drain them well, divide them into amounts you like to use for recipes, and freeze them in whatever containers you like.
6. When you want to use the beans, you can pull them out of the freezer and put them straight into the recipe from a frozen state, or you can thaw them quickly by running the container under warm water.

photo by basheertome

Beans, beans, the musical fruit,
The more you eat ’em, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel,
So eat beans for every meal!

(Laughter is good for the heart too).



Here’s the hydrogen sulfide study reference for keeners wanting the original research:
Yang G, Wu L, Jiang B, Yang W, Qi J, Cao K, Meng Q, Mustafa AK, Mu W Zhang S, Snyder SH, Wang R. (2008) H2S as a Physiologic Vasorelaxant: Hypertension in Mice with Deletion of Cystathionine  Gamma-lyase.  Science 2008 Oct 24; 322(5901):587-90.


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