For what reason are edible seeds, typically kidney shaped, conducive to promoting good health? What makes beans and Legumes such a nourishing, small amount of food that is eaten between meals?
For starters, beans and legumes snacks are high in protein. But the fat content is much lower than that of nuts and seeds. Therefore, it serves, like mushrooms, as a source of high-quality low-fat protein for those who need to manage the fat content in their diet or their caloric intake. Beans and legumes also contain a significant amount of soluble and insoluble fiber, complex carbohydrates, folate, and iron. Soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol.
Raw beans such as red and kidney beans contain a toxin (Phytohaemagglutinin) that can be destroyed by boiling the beans for at least ten minutes. Fermentation is used by some cultures to improve the nutritional value and digestibility of beans by removing the toxins. Tempeh that is primarily produced by the Indonesians is an example of popular fermented bean products. Many beans, such as broad beans and soybeans, contain oligosaccharides which cannot be broken down by the human digestive system. The enzyme needed is produced by the bacteria in the large intestine. Therefore, the digestion of the oligosaccharides takes place in the large intestine, releasing gases as a byproduct, and thus causing flatulence.
Flatulence can be rather disturbing to some. The good news is, an enzyme is commercially available. It can be taken to facilitate digestion of oligosaccharides in the small intestine to prevent flatulence. It is currently marketed under the brand name Beano in the U.S.
Natural carminatives such as anise seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin are used in some cultures to cook with beans to rid of the gases. Another solution is to soak beans in water for several hours before cooking. Unfortunately, such methods only work for some. Bean lovers may switch to the fermented versions. The fermented products usually will not produce most of the intestinal problems.
The essential amino acid, methionine, is relatively low in legumes. This can be compensated by serving legumes together with grains which are high in methionine. Grains, on the other hand, are low in the essential amino acid lysine, which legumes contain. Thus, they complement each other to provide all the essential amino acids. Dal with rice, beans with rice or corn tortillas, tofu with rice, and peanut butter with wheat bread are some well-known combinations. You may create your own!
Beans and legumes snack are prepared very much the same as in a regular meal. Healthy beans and legumes snacks should be mini meals, small in portion yet no less nutritious. You may have your mini meals in the following forms:
Beans and Legumes, Snacks
- Raw, with or without dressing – Only the fresh vegetable beans can be eaten this way. Not the dried type! The raw vegetable beans are sweet and crunchy. But it’s a big No, no for those who have digestive problems!
- Sprouted – This is the dried ones. Soak them overnight and sprout them for a few days. Sprouting improves the nutritional value and digestibility. The sprouts can be eaten raw or cooked.
- Dehydrated – Available commercially.
- Stir fry – This is only for vegetable beans. You may mix in other vegetables.
- Stew – Soak dried bean before stewing. Bean stew can be frozen for later use.
- Pan fry or deep fry –Fry with or without batter. If without, the product doesn’t have to be golden brown. Season the vegetable beans after frying. It’s not a very healthy way of preparation but the fresh vegetable beans give out a special aroma and taste really good after frying. It’s a good way to get those who don’t like vegetables to eat them.
- Roasted – Commercial or homemade. Soak the dried beans thoroughly or overnight, season them and roast them in an oven.
- Bean milk – Can be made from both boiled or roasted dried beans. The flavor of the roasted version is, of course, richer. However, the boiled one can be very flavorful too. Black bean date milk really looks like chocolate milk!
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself some delicious edible seeds from a leguminous plant that bears beans in pods for your next meal. Your body will thank you!