Beans– The Ultimate Beauty Food by Deb Chase

beansIt woud be hard to invent a healthier food than  the humble bean.  Oounce for ounce beans are 22% protein, more than any other plant food.  Cholesterol free, salt free, gluten free and high in fiber, beans  also deliver an impressive payload of B vitamins, zinc and potassium.  But wait there’s more.  Beans have  almost as much calcium as skin milk.This profile– high in protein and fiber and low in  fat –is exactly  what researchers found when they looked at the links between diet and  skin aging.  And while   prime beef is now $10-20/pound, one pound of dried  beans is less than $2– which works out to less than 30 cents per serving. Seriously.   .

Beans From Around the World

Beans are one of the oldest cultivated foods.  They have been found in Egyptian tombs and are metioned in the Bible.  In fact, Esau sold his birthright  for a dish of beans.   Beans are prominent in a wide range of cultures and countries including Italy, USA, Mexico, Turkey, Latin America, Egypt and India.

The Problem with Beans

Affordable and healthy, beans  have one big problem– they can cause bloating and indigestion. In addition to  an admirable  nutritional  profile, beans contain  an indigestible  sugar complex that ferments into gas in our large intestine.

Some people are more affected than others and soaking dry   beans overnight before cooking can cut back on the problem.  If beans  still cause bloating, limit portions to 1/2 cup and don’t combine with other gas producing foods  like cabbage

Learning to Cook with Beans

I have to admit  that  until I realized their beauty benefits, beans were not  on  my shopping list.   Once I realized their health and nutritional benefits, I decided  to commit to  two servings of beans a week.  To stick to this pledge, I developed a handful of  bean recipes that friends and family would enjoy.   My recipe for white bean spread turned out to be especially popular.   A little pot served  with crostini is the perfct appetizer.  Spread on  whole wheat pita and tpped with  olives and tomates,  this spread makes a terriffic sandwich.  If you’re gluten free spread  some on soft lettuce leaves top with chopped red onions, role  it  up and dip in cucumber yogurt ssauce.   Last week I served it simply with a plate of raw veggies when a video shoot ran late.  Just about the only thing I  haven’t tried was a bean spread face mask.

Rustic Bean Spread

Ingredients: one can navy beans,drained , one medium potato, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 cup of chopped onions, 2 clove of grlic, chopped, 1/4 teasoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:  Cook the potato  for 30 minutes or until soft.  Peel and cut up into one inch pieces and set aside.  Heat the  oil  and saute  the onions and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes.  Toss in the potatoes, herbs, beans, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir over low heat for a few minutes.  Cool  a bit, then dump  into  food processor. Blend  until fairly smooth.  If the mixture seems  dry  drizzle in addiitonal olive oil.

 

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