Alberta Health Services, The Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Association and the Canadian Cancer Society all recommend legumes as one of the most important food groups for disease prevention and optimal health. Due to their blend of fibre, protein and nutrients, legumes aid in blood sugar regulation more than almost any other food group, a key quality for diabetics and those concerned with maintaining stable insulin response.
Legumes are also heart-healthy; their high fibre content lowers cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels. Most varieties of beans and lentils are also high in folate, a vitamin that helps prevent the build-up of the amino acid homocysteine - elevated levels of which are a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Beans are an excellent source of fibre and this helps as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are undigested food particles that support the growth and activities of certain bacteria (probiotics) in the colon. These bacteria then provide health-promoting effects for us. These resistant starches are fermented by colonic probiotics into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate.
Butyrate supports cellular differentiation and reduces proliferation; it also lowers the pH in the lumen, which is associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.
An important factor in adding more beans to your diet it soaking them. This is really important because they have natural defenses that lock in most of the nutrients. By soaking dried beans overnight, rinsing, then cooking them, most of the nutrients will be available for us to absorb. This also helps lower the possible gassy reaction if you are just starting to introduce them to you diet.
For a Chart on soaking refer to the reference page.
Beans and lentils contribute to better digestion, they help regulate blood sugar because of the slower rate of digestion, they can help lower cholesterol, help maintain a healthy weight because the protein and fiber in beans delay stomach emptying, you feel fuller longer. They are high in iron and a good source of B vitamins, they may lower your risk of cancer and they are heart healthy!
The amazing bean....for more on the topic please go to New School Knowledge, Old School Wisdom