These days there is so much emphasis on expensive vitamin supplements  and superfoods like maca powder, sauerkraut, activated nuts and more. Yes, these foods are all great for you and science has shown they hold many health benefits for us humans, but what if I told you that a food costing about 99 cents a cup could be the superfood that guarantees you a long and healthy life.

According to Dan Buettner, the writer of The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People, beans are one of the healthiest foods to consume if you want to live a healthier and longer life Yep, you read that right, BEANS. Buettner has researched the Blue Zone for decades now, and has found thatpeople living in Blue Zones live the longest not only due to their lifestyle but also their food consumption.  Beans happen to be one of the main foods consumed by people in these areas.

The decade of research has shown that consuming 1 cup of beans a day may be the answer to living longer.
Beans are part of the legume family.  Some common types include kidney beans, cannellini beans, Great Northern beans, navy beans, fava beans, cranberry beans, cannellini beans, black beans, pinto beans, soy beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and lentils.

You’d be surprised to learn how nutritious legumes are.  They are a source of fibre, protein, carbohydrates, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc and phosphorus.  A half a cup will provide about 115 calories, 20g carbohydrate, 9g fibre, 8g protein and 1g of fat with a low GI component.

Studies shown that beans support digestion, regulate blood sugar, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol and increase heart health.

So how can we add them to our diet?

  • They can be slow cooked with other vegetables. Here is my Superfood Slow Cook dish which I make frequently through winter.

  • Buy the canned versions with no added flavours or salt, rinse and add to your salad with lemon and olive oil dressing.

  • Make a big bowl of chilli con carne packed with a mix of kidney beans and black beans.

  • Dhal is also a great dish to add to your recipe list.

  • Try swap some of your meat, potato and vegetable dishes to a legume based dish.  

Add these foods with your beans  to give yourself an extra nutritional boost (and save some money!):  :

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews)

  • Oats (preferably rolled oats)

  • Barley

  • Olive oil

  • Greens (broccoli, broccolini, kale, chicory, silverbeet, spinach)

  • Fruits