Beans contain potent proteins as well as a wealth of B vitamins. The available types of beans seem almost endless: snap beans, shelly beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, red beans, navy beans, white beans – beans of all shapes and sizes. When eaten together, beans and corn provide complete protein for human nutrition that can take the place of meat in the diet. Beans, a member of the legume family, are also an important source of complex carbohydrates, fiber and minerals. Baked or slow-cooked, beans are inexpensive and low in fat. When beans are soaked overnight in water and then slow-cooked, less gas is formed during the digestion process in the intestines. Soaking beans allows the slow uptake of water which releases enzymes to activate the germination process and begins the conversion of complex sugars into simple ones. It is the complex sugars which cause gas when beans are eaten. Always pour off your soaking water and add fresh water for cooking.

A bean’s color holds clues to its phytonutrient content (the pigments that give vegetarian foods like beans their colors are used by the human body to fight off disease). In addition, a one cup serving of red beans provide 81% of our daily allowance of molybdenum, a potent anti-cancer nutrient; 57% of folate, a B vitamin that lowers the risk of birth defects; and 56% of our daily fiber, needed to lower cholesterol, support colon function and reduce the risk of colon and breast cancers (Foods & Nutrition Encyclopedia, Pegus Press).