Beans: valuable ingredients

Green beans, white beans, broad beans, beans or kidney beans - hardly any other vegetables appear in as many forms as the bean. In Germany, there are more than 100 different types of beans and they are among the most versatile and popular legumes we know. In addition, they are very healthy thanks to their numerous ingredients - provided you know what to pay attention to when preparing them. Because raw beans are even poisonous. Read all about beans and their health benefits here.

What's in and in the bean?

Beans are an important source of protein for us - white beans have even more proteins than meat and are therefore also a good source of protein for vegetarians. The nutritional value of this vegetable variety varies greatly depending on the type and processing - for example, whether fresh or canned beans are used.

For example, for fresh kidney beans, the nutritional value per 100 grams is distributed as follows:

  • 22.1 grams of protein
  • 36.5 grams of carbohydrates, including 1.1 grams of sugar
  • 21.3 grams of fiber

At 251 kilocalories (kcal) per 100 grams, kidney beans are not exactly low in calories. Again, there are big differences between the different types of beans. For example, 100 grams of green runner beans account for only about 25 kilocalories. Therefore, the tasty vegetables can also be found on our menu, even if we want to save calories.

Healthy ingredients of beans

The health benefits of beans are also in their many minerals, because they contain, among other things:

  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • calcium
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • manganese

There are also numerous vitamins such as vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene (provitamin A) and various vitamins of the B group (especially B1, B2 and B6).

Effect on health

Beans slowly release their carbohydrates into the bloodstream, keeping blood sugar levels constant. As a result, they fill you up for a long time and are great for diabetics. In addition, they contain soluble fibers that bind to cholesterol as it exits, thus lowering cholesterol levels.

More than other vegetables, the body can also be supplied with antioxidant antioxidants by eating beans. This is how they should help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and cancer. A cancer preventive effect, especially on colorectal cancer and breast cancer, has been confirmed by several studies.

Prevent digestive problems caused by beans

In one phrase it says: "Every little boy gives a little tale". In fact, many people have digestive problems after eating beans. Among the ingredients responsible for the bloating are so-called oligosaccharins, hard-to-digest carbohydrates, which decompose in the intestine to produce gas.

Depending on the variety, it may help to soak the beans in water for up to 24 hours before cooking. This causes the legumes less digestive problems.

In addition, the right spices can help digestion: cumin, anise, coriander seeds and fennel are particularly suitable here. Alternatively, a caraway tea helps against the flatulence.

This is to be considered in the preparation

The variety of the preparation, whether as a bean vegetable, salad or as a side dish for meat and fish, speaks in addition to this legume. Blanched bacon-wrapped beans, chilli con carne, stew, bean soup and split peas are just some of the possible uses.

You can make beans fresh, but also freeze well. They must not be consumed in the raw state, as they contain a poisonous substance. This substance, the glycoside phasin, belongs to the group of lectins and only decomposes after 15 minutes of heating or boiling. Therefore, you should always pour away the water in which you have blanched the beans. For canned beans, it is sufficient to rinse them off, because they are already cooked.

Tips to buy beans

Many healthy foods are not cheap, and especially not to get in every season. However, beans are not too expensive and are grown outdoors from May to October and in the greenhouse from April to December. Also in the remaining months of the year they are available through import.

If they crack nicely at breakup, then they are just right. So make sure when buying that the pods are not already flabby or come with brown spots.

Some varieties, such as the kidney bean, are dried or offered as canned food. This special type is dry beans, of which only the dried seeds can be used because of their hard shell and tough husks. Thick, white beans and mung beans are also available in cans or tetra packs.

Storage and durability

Beans should be processed as quickly as possible, since they only keep fresh for a short time. In airtight packaging, beans keep about two days in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Since you can freeze them very well, this is the best alternative if you have bought too much.

Bean types and their origin

It is not easy to get an overview of the different varieties of these legumes. Their diversity is due among other things to their different origins. In Europe, the climate is ideal: there beans grow almost everywhere. Another important growing area is East Asia. Some varieties are also native to Central and South America, especially in southern and western Mexico. In many regions they are an important staple food.

Most of them are annual, frost-sensitive plants that can be distinguished in bush or runner beans and fire or runner beans. The pods can be flat and flat or oval and flat.

Pea beans, for example, are very thin-skinned with round, small seeds, while old varieties are thick-skinned and still have threads that need to be peeled off. Even more unusual varieties, such as the Cuban black bean, have already found their way into our health food stores.

But whether green, yellow, red or black, flat or round: all beans are cooked very well.

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