Explore all the different types of beans, their wonderful healing
power and serving suggestions to make them part of your everyday diet. They come in such a huge variety of shapes and colours, as well as taste and texture, that you'll never get bored with them. Why not try different ones and see which ones you like best?
On this page we'll discuss the following types of beans:
Part 2 will discuss Black beans, Haricot beans, Kidney beans, Lima beans (Butter beans), Mung beans, Pinto beans, Green beans
Part 3 - Chickpeas, Lentil, Peas
Aduki Beans (Adzuki Beans)
Aduki beans are not only high in protein but are easier to digest than most types of beans.
They're small and reddish brown in colour, with a soft texture and a strong, nutty-sweet flavour.
Very popular in Japan and China, these tasty beans were introduced to America and Europe as part of the macrobiotic diet. However, many who abandoned this diet, continued to enjoy aduki beans as they had discovered they were delicious, easily digested legumes that could be used in many very tasty dishes.
In addition to supplying high levels of soluble fiber and protein, aduki beans, like other types of beans, are packed full of trace minerals.
These trace minerals are utilized by the body as component of enzymes.
For example, a 1/2 cup of aduki beans provides almost 200% of the daily recommended intake for molybdenum, which is necessary for the production of an enzyme called sulphite oxide, one of the most important enzymes in a liver detoxification pathway called sulphoxidation.
Poor sulphoxidation is associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and with inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, delayed food sensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivities and diet-responsive autism.
Most people are surprised to learn that alfalfa (also known as lucerne in many parts of the world) is a member of the pea family and therefore a legume.
Alfalfa seeds are the part of the plant that provide the food with which we're most familiar - alfalfa's threadlike white sprouts with their tiny green tops and mild, sweet flavour.
Alfalfa was originally grown as forage for livestock longer than any other plant or types of beans, but now the leaves are also dried, ground into a powder and compressed into tablets for use as a nutritional supplement for humans.
People who can't digest other types of beans are often able to tolerate alfalfa very well.
1) Alfalfa sprouts, along with soybeans, clover and linseed, are the most significant dietary sources of phytoestrogens, which play an important role in the prevention of menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease.
Other types of beans also have a certain amount of phytoestrogens.
Because phytoestrogens have much lower estrogenic activity than human estrogens but bind to human estrogen receptors, they can help normalize the effects of estrogen in the body.
When estrogen levels are too low, phytoestrogens supply some estrogenic activity, but when estrogen levels are too high, the same phytoestrogens, by using up available estrogen receptors, block out powerful human estrogens, causing an antiestrogenic effect.
Estrogenic activity is implicated in the majority of breast cancers and research now suggests that thyroid cancer may also be an estrogen-dependent disease.
2) In addition to phytoestrogens, alfalfa sprouts, of all the types of beans, are particularly rich in another class of beneficial phytochemicals called saponins, which have been shown to lower diet-induced LDL (bad) cholesterol accumulation in the liver without diminishing circulating levels of the beneficial HDL (good) cholesterol. This, of course, would result into a protective effect against cardiovascular disease.
Alfalfa contains other as yet non-identified active components with significant cardiovascular benefits.
The saponins found in alfalfa have also been shown to boost immune function by increasing the activity of natural killer cells, including T lymphocytes and interferon.
3) Alfalfa sprouts also contain L-canavanine, an amino acid analogue that recent studies suggest may be a natural agent effective against leukemia and cancers of the pancreas and colon.
L-canavanine, with it relaxing effect on the intraocular muscle, may also offer promise in the treatment and prevention of near-sightedness.
4) When compared to a number of antioxidant-rich vegetables, alfalfa sprouts rank among the leaders of the pack.
When tested against two of the most destructive free radicals on a weight basis, alfalfa sprouts were found to have antioxidant activity surpassed only by kale and Brussels sprouts against the hydroxyl radical, and by garlic, kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts against the peroxyl radical.
Of all the types of beans, alfalfa are the easiest to sprout. Doing a bit of research on the subject, I've found several ways of going about it, but this one from Heirloom Organics seemed the best:
Broad Beans (Fava Beans)
Native to North Africa and the Mediterranean region, the broad or fava bean was the major bean throughout the Old World prior to the introduction of the common bean.
What distinguishes fava beans from all other types of beans is that they are amongst the richest natural sources of L-dopa, a precursor of the chemical dopamine, which, amongst other things, act as a diuretic.
In one study, eating 40 grams of freshly chopped fava beans significantly increased the amount of sodium and dopamine in the urine, which helped reduce blood pressure.
Broad beans provide similar nutritional benefits as other types of beans, so look up the next page to see what else broad beans can do for you.
Carob is different from other types of beans in many ways. It is made from the fruit pod of a large leguminous evergreen tree native to the rocky lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Quite unlike other types of beans, all parts of this legume can be used. For example, carob gum is made from the white mucilaginous endosperm and is used as a food stabilizer and thickener.
The sweet, pale brown pulp that fills up the leathery dark brown pods can be eaten fresh or dried, roasted or ground into a powder that can be used like cocoa.
The whole pods can be fermented and distilled, creating a drink with the appealing chocolaty flavour of the pulp.
Roasted carob seeds are also used as a coffee substitute or mixed with coffee in some parts of Europe.
The seeds, after their gum is extracted, can also be ground to produce a flour that is especially useful for individuals with diabetes due to its 40% fiber content and absence of starch and sugar.
Although carob powder is somewhat bland compared to chocolate, carob is much better than chocolate in a number of beneficial ways:
In addition to being a healthy alternative to chocolate, carob provides benefits unique to these types of beans.
In particular, recent clinical studies have confirmed the use of carob for treating diarrhea. A double blind clinical study has demonstrated that carob is useful for treating infants with diarrhea, but a less rigorous trial showed it was less helpful for adults with traveller's diarrhea.
Carob's beneficial effects are due primarily to its tannins and large sugar molecules.
Unlike many tannins, those found in carob are not water-soluble, so they don't bind to proteins and render them unavailable, as many tannins do.
Instead, carob tannins not only have an astringent or drying effect in the gastrointestinal system, but also bind to and inactivate toxins and inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Its large sugar molecules, or water-soluble fiber, make carob pulp gummy and able to absorb water and act as a thickener, helping to bind together watery stools.
Taken with plenty of water, 15 g. of carob powder mixed with a little stewed apple or mashed sweet potato provides a palatable, child-safe remedy. Adults should use at least 20 g. of carob powder.
Also, by making food more viscous in the stomach, the dietary fiber and sugars provided by carob may reduce the reflux of acid into the esophagus, providing relief for sufferers of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Of all the types of beans, carob is extremely versatile, but very little used. Try the following suggestions and see whether you can make it a part of your diet.
Because carob is sweeter then cocoa or unsweetened chocolate, when you substitute carob for chocolate, you need to reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener by 20%.
Also, since carob has a milder flavour than chocolate, when using carob in a recipe designed for chocolate, consider enhancing the taste by adding spices, such as cinnamon, peppermint or coffee.
In drinks, if no additional spices are used, replace each part of cocoa or chocolate with 1 1/2 to 2 parts carob.
You can make the following easy but delicious fudge in about 20 minutes:
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 6 cups carob chips with 1 1/2 cups smooth or chunky peanut butter.
Add 1/2 cup soy milk and stir occasionally until completely melted.
Add 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup diced dates, 1/2 cup slivered almonds and 1/2 cup shredded coconut.
Stir until well combined, let cool slightly and pour into a 9-by-13-inch/20-by-30 cm. casserole dish lined with baker's parchment or wax paper.
Chill until firm.
Using the paper lining to help you, remove the carob fudge and cut into 30 pieces. Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator until served. It will store in the fridge for two weeks or in the freezer for two to three months.
Another healthy, delightful treat made with carob powder and puffed cereal, are also easy and quick to prepare.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup rapeseed (or canola)oil with 3/4 cup carob power, mixing until smooth.
Add 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup honey and a generous tablespoon of molasses.
Stir well and add 1 cup toasted wheat germ, a pinch of sea salt, 3/4 cup lightly toasted sunflower seeds and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
When this is well blended, mix in 1 cup puffed cereal, such as rice, and 1/4 cup toasted sesame tahini.
Roll into 1-inch balls and eat as is or bake at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C/gas 4 for 10 minutes and cool before serving.
Add 1 egg and beat well.
Alternating with the addition of 3/4 cup hot water sift 2 cups wholemeal flour, 1/3 cup carob powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon into the bowl.
When blended, stir in 1 cup chopped walnuts.
Pour into a lightly buttered 9-by-9-inch/20-by-20 cm. tin and bake at 250 degrees F/130 degrees C/gas 1/2 for 1 hour, or until the cake easily separates from the sides of the pan. Cool before icing (for the icing see next item).
Cream 2 tablespoons butter with 2/3 cup powdered milk and 1/3 cup carob powder.
Add 1/4 cup honey and 4 tablespoons cream and mix well.
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and whip until smooth.
Different Types of Beans (Part 1) - Discussing Aduki beans, Alfalfa, Broad beans (Fava beans) and Carob. Also Carob vs Chocolate, Carob Fudge Recipe, Carob Mounds Recipe, Carob Cake recipe and Icing.
Different Types of Beans (Part 2) - Discussing Black beans, Haricot beans, Kidney beans, Lima beans (Butter beans), Dung beans, Pinto beans and Green beans.
Different Types of Beans (Part 3) - Discussing Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), Lentils and Peas.Beans and Heart Disease
Different Types of Beans
Part 1 - Aduki beans, Alfalfa, Broad beans (Fava beans), Carob
Part 2 - Black beans, Haricot beans, Kidney beans, Lima beans (Butter beans), Mung beans, Pinto beans, Green beans
Part 3 - Chickpeas, Lentil, Peas
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