Serves: 5



Beans are big on benefits. With more than twenty varieties to choose from, such as garbanzo, black, navy and kidney, beans are packed with nutrition and all sorts of health-promoting substances. Not only are they a protein powerhouse, they also are fat free and cholesterol free - two star qualities in terms of heart health.

And the news gets even better. Beans are rich in folic acid, potassium and soluble fiber - more heart helpers. Adding folic acid to a diet low in this vitamin may help lower homocysteine levels. High levels of homocysteine in the blood are linked to increased risk for heart disease. Potassium helps keep blood pressure in check high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart problems, too. Soluble fiber, which is also found in oats and some fruits and vegetables, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol when part of a low-fat diet.

Adding beans to your favorite dishes is a quick and easy, especially when you use the canned varieties. Canned beans can be high in salt, so rinse them well if you are watching your sodium intake. You can also cook dried beans from scratch, which will require some planning ahead in terms of the time needed.

From "Betty Crocker's Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cooking Today." Text Copyright 2005 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This -BEANS HAVE BENEFITS recipe is from the Betty Crocker's Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cooking Today Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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