Beans are low in fat, high in fiber, protein rich and cholesterol free. Like honey, dry beans (kidney, pinto, black, white, navy, Great Northern and garbanzo) lower triglycerides, the blood fat that can cause heart attacks. They also lower blood levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of good cholesterol (HDL). The high carbohydrate and high fiber content of beans helps regulate blood sugar to keep diabetes under control. Beans also may help prevent colon cancer, largely because they're so high in fiber.
The magic dose seems to be a 1/2 to 3/4 cup (50 to 75 grams) serving of cooked dry beans daily [source: Carper]. This amount has been shown to:
- Reduce triglycerides 17 percent
- Lower cholesterol by an average of 10 percent
- Neutralize stomach acid
- Protect against breast cancer
- Reduce plasma glucose and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen bones
As an added bonus, people who eat beans regularly tend to weigh less -- by almost 7 pounds (3.2 kilograms) -- than people who seldom eat beans [source: La Puma].
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