Saturday, May 05, 2007

Beans, beans, good for your heart...

I suppose we could live without part 2 of that childhood ditty, but just know that line 1 is scientifically proven.

Epidemiologists sorted through the health and dietary records of nearly 10,000 participants in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), correlating the incidence of heart disease over 19 years of follow-up with the intake of beans.

Their conclusion?

Legume consumption was significantly and inversely associated with risk of coronary heart disease after adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors.

You eat beans four or more times per week and you fall out with heart disease 22% less often than the underbeaned.

For those of you who have bean there but don't particularly like to go there often, here's a recipe for a bean smoothie that's mighty good. Actually, it's more a bean soup, but still provides that easy intake of nutrients without all that tedious chewing. This recipe is a done deal in 5 minutes, and heated up in another 5, but careful, the ingredients fill a standard-sized blender to about 1/18 of an inch from the top:

Chickpea Soup with Garam Masala and Cilantro*

2 16-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1 1/2 tsps. garam masala (blend of Indian spices, McCormick brand or other)
1 tsp. ginger
2 Tbs. frozen apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup packed cilantrol leaves
Garnish with plain yogurt and/or thinly sliced green onions
Blend it all but garnishes, heat up in large saucepan, simmer 4-5 minutes, drink to your heart's content.

*Recipe from Parade Magazine

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