“You never cook onions with your beans. That’s a recipe for tear gas.”
― Justin Swapp, The Shadow’s Servant
I have a question for you: What do you think is the healthiest food found in the grocery store?
Here are some hints …
It’s not the kale or the spinach. It’s not the berries or the sweet potatoes. It’s not even the garlic or the onions. (But those are all good guesses, because they are indeed nutritious foods to purchase.)
But the healthiest food in the grocery store is actually…are you ready for this…beans and lentils!
In 2005 a group of researchers tested 100 of the most common fruits and vegetables and discovered that 3 of the top 100 most nutritious foods came from the legume varieties. Blueberries, when picked in season, came in a very respectable 4th place.
But beans and lentils really are a nutrition powerhouse. One cup of cooked pinto beans has more antioxidants than 6 cups of cooked cauliflower or 12 cups of cooked carrots! And, believe it or not, lentils are pound-for-pound the most nutritious out of all the legume family.
The above graph is sourced from the New York Times best selling author Jo Robinson’s Eating On The Wild Side – A highly recommended book.
As the graph shows, all varieties of beans and lentils are really, really good for you. They’re high in a variety of nutrients, including soluble fibre, protein, B vitamins and iron, just to name a few.
There’s also no shame in buying canned beans and lentils; canned beans are obviously a very convenient and time saving way to prepare a healthy meal. Just make sure they are BPA-free and organic, and always double check the ingredients to make sure nothing weird was added during the canning process (e.g. sugar in its many forms).
I’ve written extensively about the versatility and cooking methods of beans in my blog titled Beans and Lentils: The Good, the bad and the Ugly. Click here to learn more.
P.S. If you’re concerned about the flatulence causing effects of beans and lentils, I’d recommend you read the resource mentioned above :).