National Eat Your Beans Day is a “live healthy” holiday observed every year on July 3. This day celebrates the bean vegetable in all sizes, shapes and colors. Beans (legumes) are one of the longest-cultivated plants dating back to the early seventh millennium BCE.
Were you aware that beans are virtually free of fat, high in protein, and contain more fiber than whole grain foods? According to the American Heart Association eating beans as part of a heart healthy diet and lifestyle may help improve your blood cholesterol, a leading cause of heart disease. Adding beans to your diet may also help keep you feeling full longer which can help you with weight management. It is recommended by the USDA that adults eat at least three cups of beans every week to obtain their maximum health benefits. That is three times more than Americans current average consumption.
In honor of the extremely healthy and beneficial bean vegetables on their special day, have a look at these fascinating bean facts.
- Beans are a major source of protein. A very healthy choice for any meal or snack, they are also an excellent source of fiber, low in fat and high in calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium.
- There are approximately 40,000 bean varieties in the world.
- Only a fraction of these varieties are mass-produced for regular consumption.
- Ancient Egyptians grew beans. According to “Food in the Ancient World” by Joan Pilsbury Alcock, fava beans, chickpeas, and lentils were found in Egyptian tombs dating back at least 4,000 years.
- Bean genetics have remained stable over the years. Beans from thousands of years ago are genetically very close to the beans we eat today.
- Some of the more popular beans are lima, kidney, pinto, garbanzo (chickpeas), black, lentil, and great-northern.
- The beans (legumes) that cause the least amount of flatulence are adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, mung beans, and split peas.
- Dry beans are better for you than canned because they contain less sodium. If you eat canned, rinse them well to drop the sodium levels.
- You can freeze cooked beans for up to six months. Before reheating thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
- Nearly six to 11 percent of a cooked beans weight is protein.
Need some inspiration?
Chicken and white bean soup
Good Foods Coop newsletter (it has recipes!)
Happy Eat Beans Day!