Baked beans are well-renowned the world over for one thing, and one thing only – causing one to produce gas.
Almost no one, on the other hand, talks about the nutritional benefits they offer. Commercial baked beans are usually made from haricot or navy beans, stewed together in a red or brown sauce. They were among the first convenience foods to be produced en masse, and can be eaten either hot or cold straight from the can since they are already fully cooked.
Beans, as everyone knows, are an excellent source of fibre which is essential to keep the intestines working properly. The insoluble fibre in baked beans is not digested but moves into the large intestine, or colon where it is acted upon by natural bacteria which produce fatty-acids. These nourish the colon lining, acting as protection against cancerous genes.
Apart from lowering the risks of cancer, the fibre found in beans also lowers cholesterol levels. Studies portray that eating beans up to four times a week lowers the risk of heart disease, as well.
Baked beans are high in protein, which is important for bones and stamina. They also contain folic acid and iron, which are a must for pregnant women or those who are trying to become pregnant. The list of benefits goes on and on – besides promoting healthy blood circulation, baked beans contain Vitamin B6 which helps metabolism and manganese, which in turn advances bone growth, corrects thyroid evolvement, and promotes sexual health.
Unfortunately, during the past few years, different nutrition and food-production companies have been producing a wide variety of baked beans. The harsh market for canned beans has soared, inducing many companies to pump more salt and sugar into their tinned food. There are approximately 164 calories in half a cup serving of baked beans, however one must consider that they are high in proteins and low in fats. It is always advisable to consume baked beans which contain no added salt.
In 2008, the British newspaper The Daily Mirror published the story of a man who managed to loose 140 pounds by eating nothing but baked beans for nine months. Neil King stopped eating his normal full English breakfast which consisted of bacon, eggs, sausages, and toast. He also stopped all alcohol consumption and stopped eating food of any kind except for baked beans, after being told that he was at risk for bowel cancer.
Although he managed to go from 420 pounds to 280 pounds, nutritionists still condemn his extreme mode of dieting, saying that baked beans should only be consumed as part of a balanced diet, and that they do not constitute a healthy, well-rounded diet.
Recently, a team of scientists at the University of Exeter in the UK published a study in the health journal ‘Medicinal Chemistry Communications’, examining the impact of hydrogen sulphide gas, that is, flatulence which is produced by humans during digestion. Noxious in large doses, research found that when cells are exposed to small amounts of this kind of hydrogen, it could be beneficial, since bodily enzymes actually need it to prevent certain diseases.
Professor Mark Wood, who was quoted by TIME magazine, even called it a ‘healthcare hero’! (source: www.time.com)
Seems like hydrogen sulphide, commonly known as flatulence, could be building up our body’s natural resistance to strokes, arthritis and heart disease, amongst other things!
So, shall we stock up on baked beans?