- Beans

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Beans means?

 No!  It doesn’t mean Heinz it means better health.  There are many different types of beans – soya beans, aduki beans, black beans, chick peas, red kidney beans, broad beans and so on.   In the countries of the world where people eat lots of them there is a lower incidence of breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  There is also a lower incidence of osteoporosis, which leads to weak bones particularly in the elderly.  We are not one of those countries.

 Scientists have identified that a group of chemicals in beans called isoflavones are responsible for these beneficial effects.

 Soya beans contain the highest levels of the 2 particular isoflavones that are mainly responsible for many of the health benefits of beans.

It is necessary to eat beans regularly because this builds up the levels of gut bacteria that are necessary to digest the isoflavones. The products of this digestion are then absorbed into the body and give us the health benefits.

 Many types of beans in tins are available in supermarkets and health food shops and these tinned beans are normally already cooked.  They may also be available as dried beans in which case they must be cooked as per instructions. Tins of soya beans are readily available via the Internet.

 Beans are easy to add to vegetable stews and pasta dishes.  I always add chickpeas because these are my favourites.   A good snack is to heat up  chick peas or other beans you like  mixed with some pasta sauce and have it on toast.

Colin Sutherland.

Ref: Soy and Gut Microbiota: Interaction and Implication for Human Health.

Huang H, Krishnan HB, Pham Q, Yu LL, Wang TT.

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