Introduction and description
Although the heading says beans, this section covers a number of related seeds that are also more correctly known as edible legumes and pulses. It also includes peas.
Although pulses [lentils, split peas, etc] are technically grains, it is not helpful to classify them nutritionally this way. They are a ‘leguminous crop’ and play a key role in crop rotation due to their ability to fix nitrogen. So key are they in this respect that the United Nations declared 2016 the UN International Year of Pulses! So beans and pulses are a separate category nutritionally on this site.
What marks out all these seeds is that they are usually found in a pod – a soft shell that protects them whilst they are maturing - and they tend to get eaten when they are soft themselves being a lot more palatable when they are young than when they get old and starchy and ready to become shed by the plant.
When they are very young the seed and the pod may be edible – both raw and cooked, but as they mature the seed is eaten and it is usually cooked. Some examples include
- Chickpeas - the base of humous and numerous stews and middle eastern recipes
- Black eyed peas - makes a good alternative to kidney beans in chilli and with an avocado salsa and sour cream
- Peas – baby peas, mange tout, Marrow fat or mushy peas
- Lentils - red, Puy, green, brown etc
- Pigeon peas
- Borlotti beans - a good addition to many Italian dishes
Butter beans - delicious creamy beans when of good quality they can be eaten as a vegetable with maybe just a sprinkling of fresh herbs
- Runner beans - only delicious when fresh and the pods snap, this is one vegetable where the beans should be very small and you eat the pod
- Broad beans - eat them when young, they are delicious with parsley sauce and ham
- Green beans - which are generally eaten for their pods
- Kidney beans – which are poisonous unless they have been boiled at high temperatures for some time
- Soybeans - the staple of many eastern dishes good in salads
- Haricot beans - which are the beans in baked beans
- Flageolet beans - tiny little green beans delicious with lamb stew
- Adzuki beans - which are a delicious replacement to kidney beans
- Mung beans - also used to make bean sprouts
- Jack beans - a little known bean which has interest medicinally
- Black gram or Urad dal - used in Indian cookery
Coffee is technically speaking a bean, although we roast it and drink it rather than eat it, and cocoa beans are also beans. Both these are covered separately however, although they may share some properties of beans as a whole.
And they have healing properties [unless you happen to be like Pythagorus].
In order to see the very specific constituents and medicinal activity of each bean, then follow the links. In this section we have grouped together observations that are more general in their findings and apply to beans as a whole.
The family in which edible beans are found – the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family – contains both edible and inedible beans. Some of the beans in this family are extremely poisonous. Lupin seeds for example will kill you if eaten, as will the seeds of wisteria. And interestingly enough some of the beans are poisonous to just a few unfortunate people, as they were to Pythagorus.
Legumes are notable in that most of them have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules, they thus make very good natural fertilisers in vegetable gardens if left to rot naturally after you have picked the food crops.
Some of the beans above have some quite interesting health giving properties. All of them contain fibre and are natural laxatives, some contain sulphur. Sulphur is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and appears to be also anti-viral in some cases. Its other use appears to be as a chelation agent.
The white bean varieties are a rich source of Ferulic acid and may help those with Dementia and Alzheimers. One of the reasons they can do this is because Ferulic acid is an anti-oxidant, but it too appears to be a chelation agent which means it may be able to get rid of various toxins in our bodies.
Cooked in salads, with rice, as a vegetable, in stews, for example chilli con carne, the possibilities are enormous.
How it works
Healing, each observation explains how.
- Some people are allergic to beans.
- They can give you wind and make you fart.
References and further reading
Nuts, beans, seeds: high-impact foods, low-impact cost. A diet rich in these foods confers numerous health benefits--and gives a big bang for your food buck. [No authors listed] Duke Med Health News. 2012 May;18(5):6. PMID: 22649832
Rice, Beans, heath, education: Public Health Policy in Brazil.Matida Á. Cien Saude Colet. 2011 Mar;16(3):1669,1668. PMID: 21667569
- A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. German BPH-Phyto Study group 016967
- Adzuki beans Nutrient content from USDA 006997
- Angelica and dementia 005403
- Arginine, the immune system, babies and sperm 005428
- Arthritis beans and avocado 005529
- Beans and health 005532
- Broad bean Nutrients from USDA 006996
- Cancer and various foods 006256
- Chickpea Nutrient content from USDA 006992
- Coffee beans - Investigation of optimum roasting conditions to obtain possible health benefits 005531
- Dietary Strategies for the Treatment of Cadmium and Lead Toxicity - 040 Edible Plants and Dietary Phytochemicals 016842
- Dr Duke's list of activity for the chemical Daidzein 017895
- Dr Duke's list of aluminium chelating plants 017803
- Dr Duke's list of anti-fungal activity for Soy beans 012435
- Dr Duke's list of anti-viral activity for the soybean 012396
- Dr Duke's list of antiparasitic plants 010310
- Dr Duke's list of cystine containing plants to boost the immune system 012486
- Dr Duke's list of mercury chelating plants 017825
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing ARGININE 017958
- Dr Duke's list of plants containing Genistein 018250
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing GLYCINE 017955
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing HISTIDINE 019061
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing LYSINE 017957
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing NICKEL 021500
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing PHENYLALANINE 017936
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing PROLINE 017956
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing SELENIUM 020550
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing SULFUR 021408
- Dr Duke's list of plants having chemicals with vasodilatory activity 017836
- Dr Duke's list of plants to counteract heavy metals 010312
- Dr Duke's list of plants with a diuretic activity 012389
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anti-aggregate activity 017520
- Dr Duke's list of plants with AntiADHD activity 018403
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antialopecic Activity 018420
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antianorectic activity 018409
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiarrhythmic activity 018344
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiataxic activity 018348
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiautistic activity 018350
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticancer (breast) activity 018453
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticephalagic activity 018363
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticfs activity 018365
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antidepressant activity 018472
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antidote to Heavy metals activity 018388
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antidysmenorrheic Activity 018474
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiheartburn Activity 019973
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with AntiLyme activity 018380
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiosteoporotic activity 018449
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with AntiPMS Activity 018419
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antipolyneuritic activity 022051
- Dr Duke's list of plants with hemopoietic effects - 2 All plants with activity 012485
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Metal chelating ability from FERULIC ACID - PART 2 018254
- Dr Duke's list of plants with vasodilatory activity 012388
- Dr Duke's list of the top 20 plants containing Vitamin C 017964
- Dr Duke's Plants with Hyperuricemic Activity from the chemical ADENINE 016806
- Dr Duke's top 40 plants containing Boron 017974
- Dr Dukes list of plants with high Antiestrogenic activity 017912
- Dr Dukes list of plants with high Estrogenic activity 017911
- Dr Duke’s list of Plants with Antifibromyalgic Activity of high chemical content 023645
- Dr Duke’s list of the top 40 plants with Antimigraine activity 021412
- Dr Terry Wahls - Feeding Your Microbiome and going organic 024351
- Foods to help with Benzopyrene 006913
- Japanese women, soy beans and health 005534
- Korean study on foods to have and avoid in children 006291
- Lentils, peas, beans and health 005533
- Lipids, low cholesterol, depression and suicide 011997
- Pellagra causes and cures 005528
- Polyphenols and heart disease 005617
- Prevention and treatment of alopecia areata with quercetin 027899
- Prevention of selenite induced oxidative stress and cataractogenesis by luteolin 017697
- PubMed paper - Traditional native American diet and health 005530
- Scientific evaluation of medicinal plants used for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding by Avicenna 017233
- Sulphur, dermatitis, acne, dandruff and warts 005565
- The Polymeal: a more natural, safer, and probably tastier (than the Polypill) strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 75% 020830
- Vegetables and diabetes 010383
- White beans Nutrients from USDA 006998
- Zinc, iron and the elderly 005527