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Spilling the beans about beans

Legumes are a great meat substitute for vegetarian dishes. From chickpeas to black beans, black-eyed peas to fava beans, legumes:

  • reduce your risk of heart disease
  • reduce your cholesterol (eating half a cup of beans a day has been shown to lower total and LDL, or bad, cholesterol)
  • leave you feeling full on fewer calories
  • aid in controlling your blood sugar by slowing the passage of glucose from food into your bloodstream
  • help you get your fill of vitamins and minerals such as folate, potassium, iron and magnesium
  • offer you heart-healthy fats
  • give you a protein boost (one cup offers up to a third of your daily recommended intake)
  • serve up fiber (one cup provides 12 to 15 grams, or about half of your daily recommended intake)

So how do you get more of these nutritional powerhouses in your diet? Try pureeing chickpeas into hummus or tossing them into a hearty soup. Sprinkle your salad with some black beans for a light lunch with Southwestern flair. Or munch on a handful of soy nuts instead of potato chips.

With beans, the possibilities—and health benefits—are endless!