January 6 is National Bean Day, and there are numerous reasons other than their delicious flavor that legumes are worthy of such recognition.
First of all, beans are a great protein source. If you eat beans in chili, you are greatly increasing the amount of protein that your body needs to build strong muscles and to keep your blood sugar leveled off. For one example, one cup of cooked pinto beans has 15 grams of protein.
Also, beans are inexpensive. You can buy a pound of dried beans for $2 or less, and they make multiple servings. This is a great way to stretch your grocery budget!
Beans are loaded with nutrients: iron and B-vitamins, for starters. They're also a great source of fiber. One cup of pinto beans has 15 grams of dietary fiber, and 20% of your recommended daily allowance of iron.
Beans do have an embarrassing reputation for making people gassy, of course, but soaking for 7 or 8 hours and then draining them helps decrease this issue. Also, if you eat beans frequently, your body gets used to handling the extra fiber, so that bloated feeling becomes less of a problem.
Here are some excellent recipes that feature beans that you might want to try soon to get that inexpensive, flavorful and nutrient-dense food cooking on your stove!