The versatility of beans and other legumes makes them an ideal choice for side dishes, soups, stews, and salads. They also make great dips and salsas: For example, chickpeas can be the base for a healthy hummus and black beans are delicious in a tomato and avocado salsa.
All legumes can be eaten on all Phases of the South Beach Diet. Purchase them fresh, dried, frozen, or canned, and start with 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving daily. Avoid canned beans or other legumes that contain sugar, lard, or molasses, and look for lower-sodium versions as well. Draining and rinsing canned legumes before using also helps reduce sodium.
Beans and other legumes are extremely nutritious and can help improve your health. Here’s how:
- All legumes are a major source of protein, which is necessary for the building and repair of tissues, for boosting metabolism, and keeping your appetite under control.
- All legumes are a good source of soluble fiber, which helps to remove cholesterol from the body before it's absorbed.
- The fiber in beans and other legumes also slows digestion and, as a result, helps prevent a sharp rise in blood-sugar levels that can cause cravings for sugary and starchy carbs.
- In addition to providing protein and fiber, legumes are good sources of folate, potassium, iron, calcium, and B vitamins.
Some of the most popular legumes are:
- Adzuki beans
- Black beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Butter beans
- Cannellini beans
- Chickpeas (garbanzos)
- Fava beans
- Great Northern beans
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
- Pigeon beans
- Pinto beans
- Soybeans (edamame)
- Split peas
- White beans