NYS Certified Nutritionist

Consumption of Legumes May Lower Diabetes Risk

What could be better than sitting down to a steaming bowl of pasta fagioli?  Or, how about spicy chili without the carne, ladled over rice?  Then, of course there might be beans and greens served over linguini with grated Romano cheese twirled on your fork.  How about a fragrant bean curry served with chewy naan bread?  Hungry yet?

The good news is that consuming legumes [dried and reconstituted beans] like pinto beans , kidney beans, black beans, lentils, chick peas, or split peas is associated with the reduction of the incidence of Adult Onset Diabetes, known as Type II.  A recent issue of Clinical Nutrition reported a study analyzing data from more than 3,000 people at high risk for cardiovascular disease.  The study found a 35% lower risk of developing diabetes among those who consumed an average of little more than three servings of legumes per week.

With legumes providing almost no fat, valuable amounts of fiber and protein, and rich levels of vitamins and minerals, they are an excellent substitute for animal protein.  Some people avoid beans because of the fear they will become bloated and produce gas.  Using canned beans and rinsing them thoroughly with cold water in a strainer can rid the beans of a carbohydrate that feeds the flora living in our intestines, resulting in the production of methane gas.  Taking the OTC enzyme caplet Beano at the time one eats legumes can also help reduce gas.  Two to 4 caplets, taken with the first bite, should do the trick.