Bean seeds are being eaten in a number of ways. They are edible in fresh, sprouted, dried, and flour forms. Since they can be easily stored, beans very often get dried and shipped even to far off places. Through drying, we are able to enjoy the benefits of beans throughout the year. Thousands of beans varieties flourish in different parts of the world. Navy, red, black, lentils and split peas; fava and lima beans, kidney and white beans; cowpeas and black-eye peas are but a few of them. It is true that some bean varieties take more time to be cooked, but those like lima beans need only less than half an hour to be served on your plate.
Along with other pulses, dried beans are considered as an important source of protein. The particular kind of amino acids found in dried beans are found to be effective in fighting against certain diseases. It is due to this quality that dried beans get substituted as a dietary staple. Apart from protein, dried beans also supply various other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. That is why the comparatively inexpensive dried beans become an inevitable part of a common man’s diet.
A serving of half a cup of cooked dry beans provides our body with approximately 120 calories of energy. It also supplies many complex carbohydrates, though the glycemic index value is lower. This means that the carbohydrates in dried beans do not result in a steep rise in blood sugar levels as is done by other carbohydrate-rich foods. Dried beans get digested only at a slow pace.
Beans are a good source of B vitamins including folic acid. Beans also provide the minerals iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium and even some calcium. Dried beans are also an abundant source of insoluble fibre, which enhances digestive health and cures constipation. The fat levels in the blood also get minimised by beans. Obese people take solace in bean-based dishes, as they are absolutely free from cholesterol.