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Are baked beans good for me?

Whether the baked haricot bean in tomato sauce or a creamy butter bean they are very on trend at the moment due to being more sustainable than meat and fish sources of protein and significantly more affordable. These naturally gluten free beauties also have lots of positive nutrition credentials too:


· Source of protein - beans contain essential amino acids, the protein building blocks of life to heal and to make new tissues, such as bone, muscle, hair, skin, blood as well as hormones and enzymes. Though beans are high in amino acids the majority are not complete proteins as they do not contain the 9 essential amino acids as animal protein sources do. Soya beans like to shine as they are the exception and are complete proteins. We can easily combine incomplete bean proteins with nuts, seeds, dairy or grains at a single meal or throughout the day to make complete protein ensuring a full house of essential amino acids.


· Low in fat – beans tend to be less than 2% fat and for the most part unsaturated, which is the type of fat we want in our diet. Fat contributes more than double the number of calories than protein or carbohydrate by weight, so if you did want to lower the calories, reducing fat in your diet through beans may help.


· Contribute to your 5 a day - eating your 5 A DAY (400g of legumes, fruit and vegetables) may be vital to life. Many scientific studies have demonstrated that eating over 5, even up to 10 portions/day can help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. They are an excellent source of fibre and full of disease fighting and immunity boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.


· Source of fibre - fibre is important to aid digestive health and we aim for at least 30g/day. Beans are a great source of fibre having 6-12g fibre per 200g serving.

So, packed with fibre, vitamins and protein, we can appreciate there are potentially a number of health benefits to eating more baked beans on toast or adding some extra kidney beans to your chilli con carne. They are available jarred, dry, canned, or frozen and there are many to choose from:


· soya beans or edamame

· butter or lima beans

· haricot or navy beans

· black beans

· kidney beans

· black eyed peas or cowpeas

· chickpeas or garbanzo bean


In the next blog we’ll explore inspirational ways of having more beans in our day and if you want to hear more about these awesome legumes The Food Programme (BBC Radio 4) has a couple of excellent podcast episodes on all things beans.


Happy eating,


Nina Thomas

Registered Associate Nutritionist


If Personal Nutrition interests you, Nina would be very happy to provide further information. She can be contacted directly on 07958-765337 and by email - bridgfordbinghamnutrition@outlook.com - or browse the packages on offer at www.bridgfordbinghamnutrition.co.uk

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