Friday, June 10, 2011

Concerns with Beans, Canned and Organic

I always hear how beans are often associated with gas. However, beans are a super source for protein at the same time being very malleable in the kitchen. Beans can play a role in our daily nourishment without the extensive gas concern. I’ve found taking a tasty whole grain rice can help absorb a good deal of the gas generated by bean consumption. There are a few concerns with both beans and rice.

Concerns with Beans
Dry vs. Canned - I have little experience with dry beans, but I’m gaining a working knowledge on the use of dry beans. Any ideas on how to make dry beans work in a small kitchen?

Canned beans have their own sort of concerns.

Checking the nutritional information is key. Check out the varying levels of sodium. I’ve found the beans with added flavors have more junk thrown in to preserve those flavors, increasing salt, before even opening the can. The higher levels of salt make the beans not as easy to work with in the kitchen.

The higher levels of sodium make the beans less conducive to new flavor, say of peppers, onions and garlic. The sodium so blankets the tongue, that subtlety of flavor isn’t possible.

Higher sodium also increases water retention, helping to increase swelling across the body. It’s my thought that perhaps this increase in water retention and swelling in the bowels that leads to increased bowel obstruction leading to gas production.

So, with canned beans, go for less sodium. I feel organic beans are a better choice. If you consider how beans are canned, they are in a liquid. The chemicals used in the cultivation of the beans prior to canning are still sitting in the can till you open the can. Therefore, organic beans are going to be preferable here, and usually are only .20 to .50 cents more a can. When you consider the cost per serving, this seems reasonable. Organic beans are naturally going to be less in sodium as well.

Go and play with your beans. Get to know this curious legume. Infuse your food with protein and fiber and flavor it as you choose. From sweet to spicy. Don't be afraid of the bean, eat it.

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