Beans prove supreme when it comes to getting your protein! Yes I know, I just brought a highly controversial topic to the table.. but hear me out!
The largest debate, when it comes to protein, is making sure you are consuming enough complete proteins, meaning amino acids, which are the building blocks for proteins. There are 20 different amino acids the body needs, nine of these are called essential amino acids because the body does not produce them on its own. This means we need to consume these amino acids every day. A complete protein is a food source that contains all nine of these amino acids. Beans do contain all the amino acids, so they can be considered “complete proteins”, however all the amino acids might not be present in the proper amounts. This is where food pairing comes in. If you eat beans with rice, the amino acids that are lacking in the beans are made up for by consuming rice, which “completes” the proper amount of amino acids to meet your daily requirements. In actuality, if you are following a plant-based diet, and you eat enough in a day to meet your caloric needs, it is almost impossible not to get enough protein. Also, there are several plant foods, such as quinoa and chia, that are fully complete proteins within themselves. Think about it this way: would a horse be able to compete in races without enough protein? Would an elephant be able to become strong and have persistent endurance without enough protein? Both of these animals are sustained on a purely plant based diet.
With the protein debate thrown out of the way, here is where beans really shine. Beans come with low levels of sugar and saturated fat, along with containing high amounts of fiber. Fiber, along with their water content, make you feel full for longer periods of time. This can cause you to lose weight, which then contributes to decreasing your risks for cancer and diabetes. In addition, beans are high in antioxidants that protect your body from damaging free radicals.
Considering all this, I think its safe to say beans are a great source of protein. Let’s become strong like the horse or resilient like the elephant (without their waistline of course)!
Bluejay, Michael. “Setting the Record Straight.” Protein for Vegetarians (& the Myth of Incomplete Proteins). N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2015. <http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html>.
English, Nick. “12 Complete Proteins Vegetarians Need to Know About.” Greatist. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 July 2015. <http://greatist.com/health/complete-vegetarian-proteins>.
Kovacs, Jenny. “Beans: Protein-Rich Superfoods.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 22 July 2015. <http://www.webmd.com/diet/beans-protein-rich-superfoods?page=1>.