Michigan Beans provide some pretty amazing, heart-healthy benefits, in fact, research shows that the regular consumption of beans can lower blood cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and help you maintain a healthy body weight. Beans truly are a versatile, heart-healthy superfood!
Since heart disease is the number one cause of death in America, it’s nice to know that a simple habit like including beans as part of a balanced dietary pattern can help lower our risk of cardiovascular disease. As we embark on the month of February, here are 4 good reasons why you should show your heart some love with Michigan Beans:
#1 Beans contain cholesterol lowering fiber – While current dietary guidelines recommend 25 grams of fiber for women and men 38 grams for men each day, many people barely consume half of these levels. Eating Michigan Beans can help! Just a half cup of cooked navy beans, for example, contains nearly 10 grams of fiber which can be found in both the skin and the flesh of the bean. The soluble fiber found in beans acts to bind cholesterol and prevents it from being absorbed in the gut. In addition, when fiber is digested it ferments and produces short-chain fatty acids that inhibit cholesterol formation. Experts tell us that with every 1% reduction of total blood cholesterol, there is about a 2% reduction in the risk of heart attack. When you add Michigan Beans to your recipes, you are getting whole bean benefits to help lower your cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease.
#2 Beans help promote a healthy weight – Beans help you maintain a healthy weight in a variety of ways. First of all, they are a lean and delicious source of plant-based protein. The protein, along with the fiber in beans, promote slow digestion which helps you feel full longer. Beans also score low on the glycemic index, a ranking of foods based on how they affect blood sugar which helps keep your blood sugar stable. Finally, beans are virtually fat-free which makes them a lower calorie food with approximately 115 calories per half cup cooked serving. There are so many reasons to make Michigan Beans part of your dietary plan to manage weight!
#3 Beans provide plenty of potassium – Michigan Beans are also a good source of potassium and magnesium which are key minerals for your heart. According to the National Institutes of Health, potassium naturally removes excess sodium and water from your system, which can reduce blood pressure. Magnesium supports both nerve function and blood pressure regulation. Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels promotes heart health and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The D.A.S.H. (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) study found that a diet lower in sodium and rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fat-free and low-fat dairy, whole grains foods, fish, poultry, seeds, and unsalted nuts reduced blood pressure when compared to the typical American diet (Moore et al, 1999). Many of the foods included in the D.A.S.H dietary pattern are sources of potassium, including beans.
#4 Beans offer a bundle of B vitamins – In many bean varieties, you’ll find thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, B6, and folate. These vitamins serve many functions in the body such as helping you convert food to energy, boosting good cholesterol, and reducing inflammation. Research has also shown that folate and B6 may be helpful for lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. B vitamins can be found in a variety of foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fish. Adding beans to your meals adds a B vitamin bonus to keep your body strong and possibly reduce your risk of heart disease.
A healthy cardiovascular system depends on your lifestyle habits over time. Make a plan to engage in daily physical activity, reduce stress, get enough sleep and follow a healthy dietary pattern that includes the regular consumption of Michigan Beans.
Celebrate Heart Month and those you love, with this delicious and nutritious menu featuring Michigan Beans: