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The Bountiful Benefits of Beans

eat your beans feature

In honor of National Eat Your Beans Day, we’d like to boast about the bountiful benefits beans provide. Black beans… Great Northern beans… garbanzo beans… kidney beans… lima beans… no matter which you chose, beans provide a myriad of health benefits. In general, ½ cup of beans provides 7 grams of protein, the same amount as in 1 ounce of chicken, meat or fish. Beans are low in fat, filled with fiber and contain a powerhouse of micronutrients and antioxidants like copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. In fact, research suggests that eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, reduce risk of colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers and help with weight management.

Data compiled from 41 countries revealed that countries with the greatest consumption of beans had the lowest mortality rates due to colon cancer.[i] In a Harvard study from the International Journal of Cancer, 90,638 cancer free women between 26 and 46 years old were monitored for eight years. Those who ate beans or lentils two or more times per week had a 34% lower risk of breast cancer than women who ate them one or fewer times per month.[ii] Additionally, data from 15 countries revealed that countries with the greatest consumption of beans had the lowest death rates due to prostate cancer.[iii]

Beans are an extremely versatile food and can be served in many ways— from soups and chilis to salads, veggie burgers and enchiladas to desserts like brownies, the possibilities are seemingly endless.  Try our favorite Cancer-Fighting Black Bean Brownies… but we must warn you, these brownies are seriously addicting and it’s impossible to eat just one. Try them and let us know what you think 

 

Cancer-Fighting Black Bean Brownies

(Recipe originally seen on CancerHawk)

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (72% cocoa or higher)
1 cup unsalted butter or non-hydrogenated butter substitute
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup brewed coffee
¼ tsp sea salt
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups light agave nectar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line an 11” by 18” baking pan with parchment paper.  Spray with canola oil.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely.
  3. Place the soft-cooked beans, ½ cup of walnuts, vanilla extract and a couple spoonfuls of melted chocolate mixture into the food processor. Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth. Batter should be thick and the beans smooth.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee and salt.  Mix well and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs until light & creamy- about 1 minute.
  6. Add the agave nectar & beat well.  Set aside.
  7. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture.  Stir until blended well.
  8. Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well & pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy.  Drizzle over the brownie batter.
  10. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect.
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares.  These brownies are very rich, so cut them into small squares.  (Please note:  The brownies will be soft until they are refrigerated.)  Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 45 or so (2-inch brownies)

Sources:

[i] http://beaninstitute.com/beans-cancer/

[ii] http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/5-cancer-fighting-foods-you-should-be-eating-today

[iii] http://beaninstitute.com/beans-cancer/

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