Beans are a wonderful way to add high-quality, plant-based protein to your diet. They are commonly high in iron, B vitamins, and fiber. They also have great flavor and compliment any dish.

Beans contain resistant starch, which received its name because it resists the enzymes that normally would break down starches during digestion resulting in a reversal of the order in which the body burns food. Usually, carbohydrates are burned for energy first, but resistant starch reverses the order making fat burned into energy first. This cuts down on fat storage.

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When you are trying to lose weight, eat one meal of a resistant starch daily. Beans contain a higher percentage of resistant starches than other resistant starches such as brown rice and other whole grains.

A high intake of resistant starch from beans keep you feeling fuller longer and can help regulate your blood sugar level.

Similar to whole grains, it’s best to soak beans for six hours or overnight (with water covering four inches higher than the beans) before cooking to aid in better digestion and absorption of nutrients. Small and medium-size beans may require less soaking—about four hours should be enough. 

Dry beans stay fresh longer when stored in a cool, dark place (rather than on your countertop).

Try swapping animal protein for beans or lentils at one meal next week. Add them to your soups, salads and other favorite recipes.

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