Whether you have a love affair with beans or not, here are some amazing properties about five beans that are guaranteed to both surprise…and possibly…delight you so that you’ll want to eat more of them!
Beans are a protein-source mainstay in most vegetarian diets as well as being an excellent source of slow-burning carbohydrates for diabetics. A high-bean diet can often effectively reverse high blood sugar problems. You can lose weight eating beans, in part because they are slow to metabolize into sugar, giving you a longer-sustained source of fuel. Plus, certain beans have been shown to reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood (a precursor to heart attacks). And there’s much more fun and healing in the Bean Family.
Our Top 5 Beans all have science to support their healthy impacts on reversing (and preventing) health conditions such as
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Intestinal Conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Weight Loss.
Whoa, these beans must be power healers!
FIRST, A PRIMER
Before one can understand how foods, poisons, and emotions can cause, stop and repair cellular damage (e.g. aging and disease), it’s necessary to grasp the principles behind the terms “Free Radicals” and “Anti-Oxidants”. There are plenty of white papers and science studies out there. Google the terms and have a ball. For purposes of rubber-meets-the-road comprehension, here’s the story I use to describe them:
Free Radicals and Antioxidants both exist and are created naturally inside your body. Free Radicals are created, for example, from stressful emotions or GMO and chemically-sprayed foods. They are unstable molecules which are missing an electron, and they are HUNGRY for it—hungry enough to attack and steal an electron from other cells. This causes damage to the attacked cell… and even its blueprint for new cells, its DNA.
Antioxidants are another type of molecule. They carry a BUNCH of EXTRA Electrons, and they happily “donate” these extra electrons to Free Radicals, thereby making them calm and essentially passive in the body.
OK, now onward to discover more about our fabulous Bean Family of 5…
BLACK AND RED KIDNEY BEANS – Prevent Cellular Damage
Black beans are the highest in a dark phytochemical (plant medicine), an antioxidant called Delphinidin. As such, it protects the body from Free Radicals, those unstable molecules that cause damage to our cells via the aging and disease processes. Black beans have higher amounts of these protective antioxidant molecules than other beans. And anything RED tends to have the ability to squelch those Free Radicals at a high rate too. For the food nerds, among you, electrons from red antocyanins (a type of antioxidant), travel at a faster and higher altitude from the cell and are therefore easier to “donate” to calm the Free Radicals.
WHITE NAVY BEANS – Easy to Digest & Cancer Protective
Because they are white, the anthocyanin (antioxidant) molecules are smaller/less dense and don’t “weigh” as much, they are also more bioavailable and easy to digest. White beans are 2nd only to the Black Kidney Bean in Free Radical quenching capabilities. However, darker foods, which are often rich in tannins, tend to have bigger and denser molecules and are therefore harder to digest.
White Navy Beans also contain another phytochemical called Ferulic Acid. It has been shown in studies to provide a protective effect on two areas of the brain, namely the brain cortex and the hippocampus. It does this by slowing/reversing the useful life of two other phytochemicals which are SUPER Antioxidants (S.O.D. and one of our personal favorites–also in asparagus and avocado—called Glutathione, which performs heavy-duty detoxing in our livers).
Now, with the growing incidences of cancer in our nation, this is also worth noting:
“Mice fed diets rich in Black Beans or cooked (White) Navy Beans had significantly lower incidence rates of carcinomas, 75% and 61% respectively.” “Consumption of black beans and navy beans reduced colon cancer in rats.” – Nutrition and Cancer, 2002; 44:
YELLOW LENTIL BEANS – Healing the Heart
Ah, now we come to the bean that helps the heart so much! Lentils are highest in Folic Acid, also known as Vitamin B-9, and it helps lower Homocysteine in the blood. Why we care about that is the link to predicting heart attacks. When it lowers that Homocysteine blood “marker”, Folic Acid is doing some nutritional healing behind the scenes, that’s for sure!
“Lentils are a rich source of folates.” J Agric food Chem (2013)14;61(32)
“Folate for depressive disorders: review of trials”. J. Psych. Ox 18(2)
“Influence of folate on homocysteine levels.” Physiol Res. 2005;54(1)
The Journal of Human Nutition last year printed the following which touches on both weight loss AND the cardiovascular system:
“A high-fiber, bean-rich diet was as effective as a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss, although only the bean-rich diet lowered artherogenic lipids.” – J Hum Nutr Diet, 2014; 2
FRESH GREEN & DRY SPROUTED FAVA BEANS – Massively Good for the Brain
A Primary Factor in Parkinson’s and depression is LOW DOPAMINE. New studies show sprouted fava beans on the 8th day of germination are possibly the plant world’s richest source of L and C-Dopa.
“Eating fava beans increases L-dopa and C-dopa in blood, with marked improvement in motor performance of patients with Parkinson’s disease, without side effects.”
“Determination of Levodopa and Carbidopa in Fava.” J Clin Dia Res. 2013; 7(6)
CHOCOLATE – A Whole Class of Super Bean Healer, All By Itself
OK, so chocolate isn’t a member of the legume family. It comes from a tree fruit and is technically beyond the scope of this “Top 5 Beans” article. However, if you are unaware of this Super “Bean”, raw cacao is scientifically proven to be the most phytochemical-rich food on the planet. Notice that I wrote “raw”. That’s key. Commercial, processed dark chocolate still has some value, if it’s not overridden by the bad stuff many manufacturers put in it. But after they roast and process out about 75% of the medicinal value, it’s got only a whimper of its former power. Learn more about Chocolate Medicine here.
We carry a delicious, Dark Belgian version of raw chocolate at the clinic. Stop by and ask for a sample if you’ve never tried Xocai Healthy Chocolate.
BEANS ARE MEDICINE
Yep. Fava beans—and the other Bean Family members– are all Nature’s Medicines. What can you do with this new knowledge? We suggest:
- CONSUME types of beans with the phytochemical powers that target and reverse specific ill-health conditions (as needed).
- EAT the Rainbow of colors for optimal health maintenance.
Want more health-targeting, disease-reversing Food Power in your life? We can help!
- Sign up for our next Food Healing Class to learn more about fabulous and useful Healing Foods. http://www.lotusblossomclinic.com/events/
- Set up an appointment for an individual or family Medicinal Foods Consultation and/or a Food shopping trip. We help you create a customized, radiant health or disease reversing diet! Deb@LotusBlossomClinic.com or (239) 277-1399
Health to You!
Dr. David and Deb Martin
And all the Healthcare Providers at Lotus Blossom Clinic
Serving the Greater Fort Myers area, including Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Estero, Bonita Springs, & Naples.