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(Health) Beans - the Star Food

 
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adedios
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:53 pm    Post subject: (Health) Beans - the Star Food Reply with quote






Beans — the Star Food
Mariam Alireza, Arab News
Wednesday, 23, November, 2005 (21, Shawwal, 1426)

Last week, I promised that I would dedicate a column to each and every one of the 14 superfoods recommended by Dr. Pratt. Today, I am writing it in detail in the hope of convincing those who are skeptical about the wonders of some natural whole foods. Some of the superfoods are local or imported produce of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts; others are healthy animal products. Fortunately, most of them are available in our markets and make savory satisfying dishes. I shall list and discuss them in alphabetical order. These nutrient-packed foods are none other than beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, green and black tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts and yogurt. They also come in a variety along with equally effective sidekicks.

Beans are the star food today. Beans and peas, green, sprouted, or dry as legumes, are very rich in nutrients and full of health benefits. For centuries different types of beans have been staple food in many countries in Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America. They are preferred for their low cost, availability, variability in preparation, good taste and richness in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibers and phytonutrients at all stages. They are consumed green, sprouted, or dry as a wholesome nutrition, bowel regulators, detoxifiers and dietary supplements for nutrient deficiencies. Beans are worthy of special attention for their powerful effects and medicinal properties to lower cholesterol; reduce heart and vascular diseases and hypertension; balance blood sugar levels, especially for diabetics; cure digestive tract problems like diarrhea and constipation; increase intestinal beneficial bacteria, regulate hormones, and lower cancer (colon) risk and other ills. Look at this wealth of benefits! Beans offer low fat vegetal protein, soluble and insoluble fibers, vitamins B, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, phytonutrients in deep-colored beans and phytoestrogens like lignins.

Beans, in their dry form as legumes (kidney, pinto, navy, broad, Lima, black, red, and other beans — foul, chickpeas — hummus, lentils) are always available in the local markets and can be stored for several seasons in dry cool places without losing their nutritional value. However, long preparation and cooking time can be discouraging. To minimize that, it is advised to soak, overnight (8 hours or more), different types of legumes separately (each type requires different soaking and cooking time); throw the soaking water; and freeze each kind in separate jars. Freezing them and adding a small spoon of vinegar to the boiling water reduce the legume’s cooking time and make their protein more digestible. Salt should only be added at the final stage of cooking. This process along with thorough cooking minimizes the effects of flatulence. Canned beans are an alternative, but they contain too much sodium. They should be rinsed under cold water in a strainer to wash out the excess salt.

Flatulence also occurs to those who do not have adequate digestive enzymes in their intestines. Infants, under 18 months, lack gastric enzymes to digest beans, thus their introduction should be gradual and in small amounts. Fresh peas and green or sprouted beans seem to be more tolerated by smaller babies. Chewing legumes thoroughly increases their digestibility. Adding digestive seeds such as fennel or cumin to the cooking water also reduces and dispels gases. Seaweeds like nori and kombu make beans more digestible; increase nutrients and flavor; and speed cooking time. Remember, overnight soaking, too, gets rid of the gas-causing substances in legumes; improves their digestibility; and helps cook them faster.

The other benefits of legumes are their low content of fat and high content of protein, making them a good substitute for fatty meat, which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Beans are a good source of amino acids; they are important for energy production in cells. Studies showed that due to their richness in soluble fiber, bean consumption decreased risk of cardiovascular disorders, thus lowering serum cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels. Half a cup of beans gives good results, especially in combination with oat bran, which is equally effective (I shall write about this valuable grain when its turn comes). Both give a good supply of the B vitamins and folate to counteract the harmful effects of high homocysteine levels, which are associated with cardiovascular disease. Legumes also provide good doses of potassium, calcium and magnesium to lower hypertension and heart problems.

The soluble fiber in beans plays an important role in regulating blood sugar. It balances blood sugar levels by producing stable energy. Bean consumption helps conditions like insulin resistance and hypoglycemia that lead to diabetes. A high-fiber diet that includes minerals and phytonutrients should also decrease blood sugar levels, thus insulin secretion as well as high cholesterol levels.

Studies showed that populations who consumed high amounts of legumes ran lower risk of pancreatic, colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Phytoestrogens like lignins and other compounds such as phytates seem to have preventive effects on some hormone-related cancers.

Owing to the high content of soluble and insoluble fibers, beans appear to control weight gain by bulking up in the digestive tract, giving feeling of fullness. They are good low-fat-and-calorie foods. Compounds in legumes control sugar levels; suppress hunger due to their filling effect; maintain steady slow-burning energy; and relieve constipation.

In conclusion, a healthy nutrition should include beans in their green, sprouted, or dry forms and in all their different varieties of beans, peas, lentils and others. They make delicious additions to a variety of dishes: salads, vegetables, whole grains, soups, stews, meat, dips and even desserts. So enjoy this delicious inexpensive, variety-rich, and nutrient-laden superfood.

*************************************************************

Questions to explore further this topic:

What are legumes?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legume
http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/legumes.html
http://www.foodsubs.com/FGLegumes.html

Why eat legumes?

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/legumes/NU00260

GAMES

http://www.dole5aday.com/MusicAndPlay/M_Games.jsp
http://www.bam.gov/sub_foodnut.....sions.html
http://www.cdc.gov/powerfulbon.....index.html
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adedios
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject: Magic Beans -- Anti-obesity soya could help prevent diabetes Reply with quote

Society of Chemical Industry
25 February 2007

Magic Beans -- Anti-obesity soya could help prevent diabetes

A diet rich in black soya beans could help control weight, lower fat and cholesterol levels, and aid in the prevention of diabetes, reports Lisa Richards in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

Yellow soya has already been hailed for its cholesterol lowering capabilities; this is one of the reasons why frozen food manufacturer Birds Eye has added the beans to its range. However, a team of Korean researchers has shown that black soya may be even more potent in rats, and also prevents weight gain (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, February 2007 DOI: 10.1002/jsfa2808).

The researchers, led by Shin Joung Rho at Hanyang University, Seoul, allowed 32 rats to gorge on a fatty diet, supplemented with various levels of black soya. The results showed that, after two weeks, those getting 10% of their energy from black soya had gained half as much weight as those in the control group. Total blood cholesterol fell by 25% and LDL (so-called ‘bad’) cholesterol fell by 60% in the rats in the 10% group.

David Bender, sub-dean at the Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, thinks that the soya protein may be having an effect on fat metabolism in the liver and adipose tissue, reducing synthesis of new fatty acids and cholesterol. It is this metabolic effect that may explain the traditional Asian use of black soya in the treatment of diabetes. ‘The key problem in type II diabetes is impairment of insulin action, mainly as a result of excess abdominal adipose tissue - so loss of weight often improves glycaemic control,’ says Dr Bender.

Lynne Garton, a registered dietician and nutritionist and consultant to the Soya Protein Association, said: "Soy fits in well to a healthy balanced diet which is important in preventing diabetes – low in fat, high in fibre and a good source of complex carbohydrates."

###
About the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (JSFA) publishes peer-reviewed original research and critical reviews in these areas, with particular emphasis on interdisciplinary studies at the agriculture/food interface. This international journal covers fundamental and applied research.

JSFA is an SCI journal, published by John Wiley & Sons, on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry, and is available in print (ISSN: 0022-5142) and online (ISSN: 1097-0010) via Wiley InterScience http://www.interscience.wiley.com

For further information about the journal go to http://interscience.wiley.com/jsfa

About SCI

SCI is a unique international forum where science meets business on independent, impartial ground. Anyone can join, and the Society offers a chance to share information between sectors as diverse as food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental science and safety. As well as publishing new research and running events, SCI has a growing database of member specialists who can give background information on a wide range of scientific issues. Originally established in 1881, SCI is a registered charity with members in over 70 countries.
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:49 am    Post subject: How does soy promote weight loss? University of Illinois sci Reply with quote

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1 May 2007

How does soy promote weight loss? University of Illinois scientist finds another clue

Research shows that when soy consumption goes up, weight goes down. A new University of Illinois study may help scientists understand exactly how that weight loss happens.

"We wanted to compare the effects of soy protein hydrolysates and soy peptides with those of leptin because we hypothesized that soy might behave in the body in a similar way. Leptin is a hormone produced in our adipose tissue that interacts with receptors in the brain and signals us that we’re full so we stop eating," said Elvira de Mejia, a U of I assistant professor of food science and human nutrition.

The researchers wanted to see if soy protein hydrolysates could affect these regulatory hormones and their receptors.

"And we found that soy did have an effect on these mechanisms and hormones that are induced in the body to help us degrade lipids and reduce body weight, but it did so by boosting metabolism and not by reducing food intake," she said.

To compare soy peptides with leptin, de Mejia’s graduate student Nerissa Vaughn, with the help of associate professor Lee Beverly, implanted cannulas in the brains of lab rats; they then injected leptin as a positive control. When the scientists could see their model was working, they injected two formulations of hydrolyzed soy protein and soy peptides so the scientists could monitor the effects of each on food intake and weight loss.

Injections were given three times a week for two weeks; during that time, the animals had unlimited access to food and water. Food intake was measured 3, 6, 12, 24, and 48 hours after injection, and the rats were weighed 24 and 48 hours after injection. All rats received the same amount of exercise, and all rats lost weight.

But, after the third injection, de Mejia and Vaughn noticed a significant weight loss in the group of animals that had received one of the soy hydrolysates, even though the animals hadn’t changed their eating habits. In this instance, soy protein appeared to have caused weight loss not by reducing food intake but by altering the rats’ metabolism.

The experiment not only showed that soy peptides could interact with receptors in the brain, it also demonstrated that eating less isn’t always the reason for weight loss, the researcher said.

"Weight loss is a complex physiological event. It’s not always as simple as ‘Eat less or exercise more,’ said de Mejia.

"Losing weight is a cascade of many steps, beginning with the production of certain hormones and continuing with their action in the brain. Some people are resistant to these hormones, just as other people are insulin-resistant. These people never receive the message from the brain that tells them they’re full," she added.

de Mejia plans to continue investigating the effects of soy proteins on weight loss. She believes soy contains anorectic peptides that signal a feeling of satiety as well as peptides that boost the metabolism. Her next step will be to fractionate and purify the soy hydrolysates so that she can identify each peptide and understand its bioactivity.

###
de Mejia and Vaughn presented their findings Sunday, April 29, at the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington, D.C. The study was funded by the Illinois Soybean Association and SAI Company.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 6:13 am    Post subject: Concerns over Genistein, Part I—The heart of the issue Reply with quote

Week of June 16, 2007; Vol. 171, No. 24

Concerns over Genistein, Part I—The heart of the issue
Janet Raloff

For the past few decades, health magazines—and, more recently, health Web sites—have touted the virtues of soy. Some studies have suggested it can dramatically cut heart risks. Others describe this legume as a potentially powerful weapon against cancer. Soy beans—and the tofu, tempeh, snack "nuts," and other products made from them—have risen to become media superstars.

For the full article:

http://sciencenews.org/articles/20070616/food.asp
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:27 am    Post subject: Concerns over Genistein, Part II—Beyond the heart Reply with quote

Week of July 7, 2007; Vol. 172, No. 1

Concerns over Genistein, Part II—Beyond the heart
Janet Raloff

This is part two of a two-part series. Part I: "Concerns over Genistein, Part I—The heart of the issue" is available at http://www.sciencenews.org/art...../food.asp.

For years, soy-based foods have enjoyed a mostly untarnished reputation as healthful offerings. And there's still plenty to recommend them: They're rich in protein, can lower cholesterol, and may even help fight cancer. However, emerging research suggests soy's biological activities are not unalloyed. Soy beans are among plants producing compounds that mimic the activity of estrogens—biologically powerful, female sex hormones.

For the full article:

http://sciencenews.org/articles/20070707/food.asp
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:57 am    Post subject: Yam bean a nearly forgotten crop Reply with quote

American Society of Agronomy
15 September 2007

Yam bean a nearly forgotten crop

Interbreeding may produce quality food source for resource-poor countries


MADISON, WI, JULY 18, 2007— The Yam bean originated where the Andes meet the Amazon and is locally grown in South and Central America, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific. It is produced in three species which are called the Amazonian, Mexican and Andean. Interbreeding of the bean has resulted in fertile and stable hybrids. This gives it potential to be reclassified as a single species, provide high quality food production and offer a sustainable cropping system that has been needed in Africa.

Researchers believe they have discovered a protein-rich starch staple in the yam bean in Peru. They were previously considered a root vegetable due to the high water content; however this ‘Chuin’ type has lower water content. Families living in the area have been producing it as flour. The crop has extremely high seed production, but its seeds contain high concentrations of rotenone. This toxic compound has been used for reducing fish populations and parasitic mites on poultry. Seeds are never consumed since they are mildly toxic to humans and other mammals. If the rotenone was removed from the seeds, they could provide a strong protein source as well as seed oil profitable in the food industry.

Séraphin Zanklan, a scientist at Centre Songhai in Porto-Novo (Benin), has investigated the yam bean for its potential to grow and produce food under West African conditions. The study was funded by a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Thirty-four yam genotypes were grown with and without flower removal at one droughty location and one irrigated location. Of the 33 traits that were measured, nearly all showed large genetic variation. This and the easy spreading of its seeds, make the crops very desirable to breeders. Results from the study will be published in the July-August 2007 issue of Crop Science.


The study identified genotypes with high storage root production. Flower removal increased storage root production by 50 to 100%. Several yam bean genotypes showed very low reduction in storage root and seed production under drought stressed conditions. As expected, the storage roots did show high protein and starch contents. They have as much as three to five times more protein than potatoes or yams. Most importantly, it was found that storage roots can be processed into ‘yam bean gari.’ This is similar to the current staple of West Africa, ‘cassava gari,’ a granular flour.

The bean could make a significant contribution to the improvement of food support, especially where resources are poor. The research is ongoing at the International Potato Center, which has a mandate for the bean in the frame of Andean Root and Tuber Crops. Further evaluation is needed on the range of yam bean variations under different conditions. More information on where they can be grown, their agronomic potential and genetic diversity is important to determine the types of breeding programs necessary for yam beans.

###

Crop Science, http://crop.scijournals.org/ is a peer-reviewed, international journal of crop science published bimonthly by the Crop Science Society of America.

ASA www.agronomy.org
CSSA www.crops.org and SSSA www.soils.org are educational organizations helping their 11,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy, crop, and soil sciences by supporting professional development and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications, and a variety of member services.
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