6 reasons to eat more beans and lentils

Packed with nutrients, legumes are nature's almost-perfect food. Here are 6 reasons to eat more of them

6 reasons to eat more beans and lentils

Source: Best Health Magazine, March/April 2009

1. Control your weight

A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who eat beans had a 22 percent lower risk of obesity and were more likely to have a smaller waist than people who didn’t eat beans. Beans are high in soluble fibre, which slows digestion and makes you feel full longer. One cup (250 mL) of black beans, for example, provides 60 percent of the daily value (DV)* for fibre.

2. Pump more iron

Combining iron-rich beans and lentils with good sources of vitamin C increases the body’s ability to absorb the iron. Lentils are a great source of iron; one cup provides 37 percent of the DV.

3. Lower cancer risk

In a review of dietary data from 90,630 women age 26 to 46, scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who ate beans and lentils at least twice a week had a 25 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who ate them just once a month.

4. Boost your enzymes

Copper’a trace mineral key to the function of several enzymes ‘is crucial for making skin pigment and connective tissues. One cup of adzuki beans has 34 percent of copper’s DV.

5. Control high blood pressure

A recent Australian study found that dietary protein and soluble fibre help prevent hypertension and improve control of it. The researchers suggested legumes as a way to increase both nutrients in your daily diet.

6. Prevent birth defects

Folate is, of course, a must for any woman considering having children, as it helps prevent defects in developing neural tubes. One cup of lentils provides a whopping 90 percent of the DV of folate.

This article was originally titled "Super Beans and Lentils," in the March/April 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today and never miss an issue!

Related content:

Secrets to Staying Healthy & Happy


How to get flawless-looking skin

While phone apps can add filters, erase lines and brighten up photos, day-to-day life may not be as forgiving. These primers, ‘blur’ products and illuminators are your secret weapons for flawless skin


Beauty trend: Costume-party nails

For October 31, trick out your hands with these nail-art treats adorned with spooky spiderwebs, cute candy corn and scary skull designs:’ (top left) ImPress Press On Manicure by Broadway Nails in Spooked Out ($11 per set)’ (top right) Kiss Nail Dress polish strips in Black Cat and Witches Brew ($11 per set)’ (below) Avon […]


Debate: Should Canada lift the gay blood donor ban?

The U.K. health department has said it will lift the ban on blood donations from gay men, reports the Daily Mail. Beginning in November, gay men in Britain will be eligible to give blood, provided they have not been sexually active with another man for at least 12 months. While this is a step forward […]


8 healthy ways to eat grains

Healthy grains such as buckwheat, spelt, barley and quinoa are rich in essential nutrients and could help control blood sugar. Here’s how to incorporate grains into your diet


Stay fit with cross-country skiing

Learn about how one group of women in Quebec bonds’and gets fit’over cross-country skiing. (The hot chocolate isn’t so bad, either!)