The next time you order Mexican food, make sure to ask for black beans on your taco, burrito, quesadilla or whatever is your fancy. In all of the beans family, the black ones give you the most bang for your buck. Have you heard of “the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice”? The same rule applies for beans. Black beans do have the highest nutritional profile in bean kingdom and kidney beans, with their deep red color, are packed with antioxidants. And if you follow the other golden rule of losing weight – make every calorie count, these little magic beans can be a power horse that gets you going but doesn’t get you fat. A serving of half a cup has less than 120 calories, and makes you pretty much fulfilled for some hours.
The Ayurveda tradition from India claims black beans balance the vata energy, so it means it is great for our information based society and fast times. And Paul Pitchford, in his “Healing with Whole Foods”, mentions that in the Traditional Chinese Medicine, black beans work as a tonic and energize the kidneys. The kidneys are believed to be the foundation of the yin and yang in the body.
You can have them vegan, or you can have them meaty. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the iron from black beans is better absorbed when is combined with some kind of animal food. Maybe that is why the taco truck I go to features a sticker that says “God praise the lard”…
Everybody talks about acai berry these days, the superpower food from the Amazon. But no one realizes that the real secret power weapon that most Brazilians trust daily is the black bean. No wonder the Brazilian national dish, Feijoada, is basically a stew packed with black beans and some meat, served with collard greens, rice and oranges. But in truth, it’s no secret at all: black beans are everyday at every table across the country, so unanimously present that it ends up taken for granted. So forget the hype of the acai berry and stock up on black bean’s treasure-troves.
Some people may avoid beans because it makes them feel bloated. Well, such power weapon does come with some undesirable side effects (aka flatulence. To be blunt, gas. Oh, what the heck: to be childish: farts!). The cooking style of Brazilians also takes care of that: soak them overnight, and make sure you add plenty of bay leaves and cumin while cooking to avoid having those mighty winds. You can even add a trace of meat, as in the Skinny Everyday Mini Feijoada, without breaking the bank or overdoing your calorie count.
Don’t have all this time to invest in soaking and cooking, you say? A bit of planning and you will master a bean nutritional routine in a few weeks. Beans do take some time to prepare, but they store and freeze wonderfully, so if you make a batch and freeze say, fifteen servings, you are all set for half a month. Just make sure you vary the salads, the greens and the accompanying starches. One day corn tortillas, the other brown rice, a tamale on the side works wonderfully, nachos are just a matter of a warm oven, some chips under the beans and some cheese on top of it!