Bean counting

A primer on some of the most popular varieties of beans

Bean counting

Source: Adapted from Foods That Harm Foods That Heal, Reader’s Digest

There are hundreds of different varieties of beans; the following are among the more popular.

Adzuki: These small red beans are lower in B vitamins but higher in minerals than their larger red cousins, the kidney beans.

Black (turtle) beans: A staple in Latin American dishes, these are somewhat lower in folate than kidney beans but otherwise comparable in nutritional value.

Cannellini: These large white kidney beans are used in minestrone and other Italian dishes; they are usually purchased canned.

Cranberry: These oval-shaped beans with mottled pink skins are used either fresh or dried. Their nutrient content is comparable to that of kidney beans.

Great Northern: The largest white beans, they have a mild flavour that is especially suitable for casseroles and soups. They are somewhat less nutritious than other varieties.

Kidney: These red beans derive their name from their shape and are among the most nutritious of the dried bean types. They are a favourite for chilies, stews, and soups.

Limas: Used fresh or dried, lima beans are highly nutritious and are one of the most widely available beans. They are often combined with corn to make succotash, a high-quality protein dish.

Navy beans: A small, white version of Great Northern beans, these have a milder flavour and slightly more folate and iron than most types.

Pinto: This mottled, multi-coloured bean is one of the most nutritious types used in North America.

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