Also known as legumes, beans are one of the most ancient and nutritious foods in the world.
Beans are a great complement to many foods like rice and vegetables—dark green, leafy veggies in particular. The reason for this is that greens are alkaline, helping to neutralize the beans’ acidity and making them more digestible.
Beans are also an excellent source of flavonoids, which can help protect against cancer and heart disease. Of the bean family, black beans contain the highest amount. Whether in soups, pates, or main dishes, legumes are a versatile and important part of any diet.
Well-loved in Japanese cooking, adzuki beans are a rich source of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate, and fiber. Cook in a Crock-Pot or pressure cooker. When these beans are prepared with rice, the rice takes on a beautiful reddish-purple hue.
High in folate, black beans rank at the top among legumes for antioxidants and fiber. Often easier to digest than other legumes, these beans complement the flavors of other beans and can be used in salads, soups, chilies, salsas, burritos, and dips like hummus.
These legumes provide calcium, folate, and vitamin A and are also rich in protein and fiber. These soft, creamy peas can be pureed into spreads for sandwiches or served with rice and cooked collard greens for a traditional Southern dish.
Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of folate and magnesium. With a mild flavor, chickpeas are ideal in stews, dips, and spreads, like hummus.
Fava beans are an excellent source of folate and also supply zinc and thiamine. Used extensively in Mediterranean cooking, fava beans have a rich flavor similar to split peas with a soft, potato-like texture.
Kidney beans are rich in fiber, folate, and iron. Hearty and full-flavored, kidney beans are ideal in chilies, stews, soups, salads, and casseroles.
Lentils are high in minerals, especially potassium, folic acid, and iron. Lentils cook up rich and creamy with a peppery taste. They’re ideal for soups, dips, and spreads; enjoy them in lentil burgers and lentil loaf.
Also called pea beans, navy beans provide virtually fat-free, high-quality protein plus fiber, vitamin B1, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.