If you haven't given a thought to legumes such as beans, peas and soybeans, you might consider adding them to your diet. These inexpensive vegetable proteins offer a variety of health benefits, whether you are looking to lose weight or maintain a proper diet. Vitamins and minerals, appetite control, heart disease protection, possible cancer protection are just a few of the many benefits provided by dried beans and peas.
Recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. Lowered colon cancer risk that is associated with black bean intake in some research studies may be related to the outstanding type of fiber (indigestable fraction - IF) content of this legume.
Many public health organizations--including the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society--recommend legumes as a key food group for preventing disease and optimizing health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends 3 cups of legumes per week. That comes out to about half a cup per day.
If you replace some of the meat in your diet with legumes, they can help you avoid heart problems. Vegetable-based proteins such as beans, lentils and soybeans are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than animal-based protein, which is why the Mayo Clinic recommends them as part of a heart-healthy diet.