The Benefits of Beans and Legumes

Updated:May 4,2015

beans and legumesProtein comes from plant sources as well as animal sources.

In fact, every plant we eat has at least a little bit of protein in it, and some have a lot—like beans also called legumes! Beans also have some health benefits that animal sources don’t.

Beans are high in minerals and fiber without the saturated fat found in some animal proteins.

Eating beans as part of a heart healthy diet and lifestyle may help improve your blood cholesterol, a leading cause of heart disease. Adding beans to your diet may help keep you feeling full longer.

Drain canned beans in a colander and rinse with water to remove some of the excess salt; or buy canned beans with no salt added if they have them at your store. Or, you can make your own salt-free beans from scratch.

There are lots of easy ways to add beans to your meals and reap the healthy benefits of the lovely legume.

  • Famously, the English eat beans on toast, and beans and rice is an everyday dish in many of the world’s cuisines.
  • Tuck beans into whole-grain tortillas or pita bread.
  • Add them to soups, salads, and pasta dishes.
  • Toss beans into sautéed veggies or mix them with cooked greens and garlic.
There are many to choose from—black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto, cannelloni, lima, mung and navy beans—as well as some exciting heirloom varieties that are now available again.

Article copyright © 2015 American Heart Association. This recipe/article is brought to you by the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart © Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit

Last reviewed 1/2015