Long for Legumes

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Beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts are in a class of vegetables known as legumes. Legumes have a long and storied history, with certain types cultivated as far back as 20,000 years. Some legumes are native to the Mediterranean region, some to Asia, and still others come from South and Central America where they’ve been staples of the Incan and Aztec diets.


Beans and lentils have shown a lot of promise in fighting breast cancer. The Nurses Health Study II followed more than 90,000 women over eight years. It found that women who ate beans or lentils at least two times a week had a 24 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who ate them once a month or less.


Another study performed on laboratory mice showed that eating dried beans inhibited the development of breast cancer and caused cells to undergo apoptosis.


Beans and lentils don’t only fight breast cancer. Eating beans is linked with a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain other types of cancer. They are high in fiber, low in calories, and contain no cholesterol. Overall, you’ll find beans loaded with antioxidants, folate, B vitamins, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. Eat a variety to ensure you get all of these nutrients.


Low cost is one of their best benefits. Dried organic beans and lentils can be found in the bulk section of a natural foods store for only a couple dollars per pound. Use them to replace meat in your meals several times a week. You can also extend the meat in a dish like chili or tacos by adding beans, thus making it healthier and less expensive.


Last, soy – a type of bean – is one of the most controversial topics in nutrition. To learn more about soy and determine if it’s right for you, check out an earlier blog post, Is Soy Toxic?


Informed. Empowered. FIERCE.





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