Did you pack your cabinets full of as many canned and dry goods you could get your hands when the pandemic first made us all hunker down in our homes? You’re not alone.
Cannellini beans, one of the most common type of white beans with a creamy, tender flavor and texture, were a particularly popular choice for families looking to stock up on healthy and filling options. But do you know just how good these legumes really are for you?
You might already know that most beans are rich sources of protein and fiber. Cannellini is no different with 19 grams of protein and 12.6 grams of fiber in one cup. That serving on its own is already half the recommended 25 grams of fiber for women each day.
On top of aiding in digestion and gut health by balancing the microbiome, fiber is also considered one of the best anti-agers we can pack into our diet. Studies show those with high-fiber diets have a 59 percent less risk of dying from infections, heart disease, or respiratory illnesses thanks to its natural detoxifying properties.
“When we don’t consume adequate fiber, our body cannot rid the toxins that build up,” dietician Melissa Rifkin, MD, RD, explained to our print magazine. “Our bloodstream reabsorbs the toxins, leading to inflammation.” Getting extra fiber can combat that inflammation and not only ward off potential life-threatening diseases, but also improve the appearance of skin, and help your body create more biotin for thick, healthy hair.
A comprehensive survey of studies also shows that eating more legumes like cannellini beans can aid in maintaining a healthy weight. The combination of fiber, protein, and slowly-digested carbohydrates work together to make us feel fuller for longer while still providing plenty of other nutritional benefits. For cannellini beans, that means nice boosts of things like vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium.
Want even more perks? No problem. The same review of studies claims that eating more legumes will also protect against the development of type 2 diabetes and improve the blood sugar levels of those already diagnosed with the condition. Having subjects replace their regular meat meals with options like cannellini beans at least three times a week resulted in lowered cholesterol, too.
If digging into a bowl of white beans so often doesn’t sound super appealing, there are a couple ways you can also get creative with how you add them to your diet. For instance, one study showed that using pureed cannellini beans to replace half of the shortening in brownie recipes resulted in a lower-fat, lower-calorie, fiber-rich, and still scrumptious treat. (Psst: You can do the same with black beans!)
For those who like crunchy snacks, you can roast cannellini beans like you would chickpeas to munch on their own or use as a yummy salad topper. Check out chef Sophia Roe’s tips for making them perfectly crunchy over on her Instagram page.
Now you have no excuse to not pack more of this nutritional (and delicious) legume into your meals on a regular basis!