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What type of beans are healthiest?

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What type of beans are healthiest? Black beans came out on top, having more antioxidant activity, gram for gram, than other beans, followed by red, brown, yellow and white beans, in that order in a 2003 study, "Antioxidant Activity of Extracts, Condensed Tannin Fractions, and Pure Flavonoids from Phaseolus vulgaris L. Seed Coat Color Genotypes," that's published in a December 2003 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This study is the first to link bean color to antioxidant activity. Researchers found, according to the study's abstract, that the findings suggest variously colored dry beans may be an important source of dietary antioxidants.

Black beans are highest in the number and quality of healthy flavonoids--plant pigments and antioxidants say researchers in a study where the researchers tested the antioxidant activity of flavonoids — plant pigments — found in the skin of 12 common varieties of dry beans. Antioxidants destroy free radicals, which are highly active chemicals whose excess has been linked to heart disease, cancer and aging. The study found that one class of compounds in particular, anthocyanins, were the most active antioxidants in the beans.

You also can make veggie burgers from black beans

See the recipe, "Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers Recipe - Allrecipes.com." And if you're vegan, instead of the egg suggested in the recipe, just add a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds, which substitutes for an egg in the ratio of one tablespoon of ground flax seeds (flaxseed meal) to substitute for one egg.

If you don't eat bread or gluten, you can leave out the ordinary bread crumbs in the recipe and substitute another starch, such as cooked, mashed sweet potato or purple potato, or grains that don't contain gluten such as amaranth or quinoa (cooked) to hold the bean burger together.

In addition to the health benefits of the black beans, another study found that black mung beans also have their health benefits

In the mung bean study, researchers examined the higher antidiabetic activities of black mung beans, according to the abstract of a 2013 study, "Antioxidant and Antidiabetic Activities of Black Mung Bean (Vigna radiata L.)." But as far as the generally familiar black beans, although researchers haven't come up with a foolproof way to avoid the indelicate side effect of beans, they have found yet another reason why you should eat more of them. You also may be curious about the abstract of still another black bean study, "Use of Fermented Black Beans Combined with Rice To Develop a Nutritious Weaning Food."

In addition to their high fiber and protein content, a new study finds that beans, particularly black ones, are a rich but overlooked source of antioxidants and may provide health benefits similar to some common fruits, including grapes, apples and cranberries.

In general, darker colored seed coats were associated with higher levels of flavonoids, and therefore higher antioxidant activity, says lead investigator Clifford W. Beninger, Ph.D., a research associate at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada

"Black beans are really loaded with antioxidant compounds. We didn't know they were that potent until now," says Beninger, according to a December 3, 2003 news release, "'Musical fruit' rich source of healthy antioxidants; black beans highest." Beninger is formerly a researcher with the USDA's Sugarbeet and Bean Research Unit, located at Michigan State University in East Lansing, where he worked on the project under the leadership of co-author George L. Hosfield, Ph.D., a geneticist who recently retired from the USDA.

Based on a previously published study of the anthocyanin content of black beans, Beninger found that the levels of anthocyanins per 100 gm serving size of black beans was about 10 times the amount of overall antioxidants in an equivalent serving size of oranges and similar to the amount found in an equivalent serving size of grapes, apples and cranberries. Beninger acknowledges that some of the healthy antioxidants in beans will be lost in water upon cooking, but says that antioxidant levels will still remain high. Although dry beans were used in this study, frozen or canned beans may have similar antioxidant activity, he adds, according to the news release.

Human studies are still needed to confirm the link between bean antioxidants and health and until then, no one knows how many beans one must eat to obtain maximum health benefits, Beninger notes. But the finding adds antioxidants to a growing list of healthy chemicals found in the popular legume, which is also rich in protein, carbohydrates, folate, calcium and fiber. The researchers hope to use information gleaned from this study to help develop new varieties of beans that pack even more disease-fighting power.

U.S. consumers gobble up an estimated 8 pounds of beans per person each year, with pinto beans and navy beans being the most popular. Red beans also enjoy immense popularity, particularly during colder months, as a staple of chili. Although not as popular in the U.S. as other varieties, black beans are a main ingredient in many international dishes. Funding for this study was provided by the USDA and the Michigan Bean Commission. Also check out the abstract of another study, if it interests you, "Volatile Organic Compounds in Foods:  A Five Year Study."

Below is a recipe for black bean soup, from the historic Belmont Conference Center, which is owned and operated by the American Chemical Society.

The following recipe is courtesy of the Belmont Conference Center, an historic manor built in 1738. Belmont is located on 85 acres of exquisite rolling hills and fields, surrounded by Patapsco State Park, in Maryland. Owned by the American Chemical Society, Belmont is open year round, seven days a week for meetings, retreats, training seminars, weddings, company picnics and holiday receptions.

By the way, we vegans can leave out the ham hocks in black bean soup. You don't need to add meat to any bean soup for flavor. Another possibility is to add crumbled tempeh, if you need that chewy flavor in your bean soup. And instead of chicken stock, we vegans can use vegetable broth or make our own vegetable broth from a mixture of diced carrots, onions, and celery (called a Mirepoix), which when simmered produces a flavorful broth.

Another variation on a theme is to and a sprinkle of dulse to make the soup taste deeper in flavor, especially if you leave out the salt for a no-added salt diet, since the vegetables have their own salt. Also, the addition of small pieces of kale and/or collards add a saltier and deeper, richer flavor to the soup. Instead of dry sherry, those who don't imbibe in cooking alcohol or want to save money on buying sherry, can use a spoon of apple cider vinegar, if you want that fermented fruit taste in your bean soup.

Puree of Black Bean Soup

Yields 2 quarts

Ingredients:

1 pound dried black beans
2 ounces bacon — diced
1 pound onions — diced
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 bunch thyme
1 each ham hocks
2 1/2 fluid ounces dry sherry
1/2 tablespoon allspice
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper

Preparation:

1. Soak beans overnight covered with one inch of water
2. Render bacon, add onions and sweat until translucent
3. Add beans, thyme, ham hocks and stock
4. Simmer until beans are tender
5. Remove half of the beans and puree
6. Combine the puree with other half of whole beans
7. Finish with sherry and allspice
8. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper

When thin people are called beanpoles, it also could mean they eat beans to stay trimmer

A study unveiled on April 3, 2006 gives new meaning to the word beanpole: The findings show that people who eat beans weigh less than those who don't. Presented at the Experimental Biology conference, April 1-5, 2006, in San Francisco, the study found that adults who eat beans weigh 6.6 pounds less – yet eat 199 more daily calories – than adults who don't eat beans. Similar results were found for teenage bean eaters who consume 335 more daily calories but weigh 7.3 pounds less than non-bean-eating teens.

Data for the study came from the National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (1999-2002). The results also show that:

  • Adult bean eaters consume less total and saturated fat than non-bean eaters and have a 22 per cent lower risk of obesity.
  • Adult and teen bean eaters have smaller waist sizes – three-quarter inch and one inch, respectively
  • The fiber intake of adult and teen bean eaters is more than one-third higher than non-bean eaters

"Beans are an excellent source of fiber and previous studies have shown that high-fiber diets may help reduce body weight, so this makes sense," says Victor Fulgoni, PhD and author of the study, according to the April 3, 2006 news release, Research shows adults and teens who eat beans weigh less. "As well, they are naturally low in fat and cholesterol-free. It's no wonder that beans have been called a 'superfood.'"

The federal government has recognized the many health benefits of beans:

  • MyPyramid, the USDA's recommended eating plan for Americans, lists beans in two food groups. Beans are listed in the Vegetable Group because they are a plant-based food that provides vitamins and minerals. Beans also are listed in the Meat and Beans Group because they are a good source of protein.
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommends that Americans triple their current intake of beans from one to three cups per week. (By the way, MyPyramid was replaced by MyPlate.)

In addition, other research has shown that diets including beans may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. The National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (NHANES) is a continuous survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics with survey data released every two years. NHANES 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 contained data on the food and nutrient intake of 9,965 and 11,039 Americans respectively.

The study was featured in two Experimental Biology poster sessions ("Bean Consumption by Adults is Associated with a More Nutrient Dense Diet and a Reduced Risk of Obesity" and "Bean Consumption is Associated with Better Nutrient Intake and Lower Body Weights and Waist Circumferences in Children") and was sponsored by Bush Brothers and Company. For delicious bean recipes and serving ideas, visit the Bush Beans site. Or if you're looking for beans without added salt and not in a can, you might try the dry beans.

Soak them overnight in your refrigerator and cook them yourself. Then store them overnight cooked in a glass jar so all you have to do in the morning is warm them up or serve cold in a salad. Or you could emulsify/puree the beans with herb and spice-flavored water in your blender and make a bean dip, or turn them into hummus by adding lemon or lime juice or some apple cider vinegar and a handful of sesame seeds, then puree them in a blender and use as a dip with crackers or bread or as a salad dressing.

When you look at studies on any particular food, many times, the studies are sponsored or funded in part by the corporations that manufacture processed versions of the food or farmers who grow the food, depending upon which food is involved in studies of how that food promotes health.

Candy consumption frequency and health research

No company is telling people to eat an unlimited amount of candy. Your dentist will give you advice on eating candy. So will the doctor measuring your blood sugar levels. Take for instance a study or research project supported by the National Confectioners Association. Check out the May 20, 2013 news release, "New study suggests candy consumption frequency not linked to obesity or heart disease." This research project was supported by the National Confectioners Association.

So one goal, naturally is to find healthier reasons why candy consumption is not linked to obesity or heart disease. You may wish to check out the abstract of that study, "Body weight status and cardiovascular risk factors in adults by frequency of candy consumption." It's published in the April 30, 2013 issue of the Nutrition Journal. Authors are Mary M Murphy, Leila M Barraj, Xiaoyu Bi and Nicolas Stettler. When people indulge in eating candy, often they're concerned about frequency. And there's the question of what's in the candy, dark chocolate mostly or a candy made almost entirely of processed sugars or syrups.

You also may wish to check out the study, "Major food sources of calories, added sugars, and saturated fat and their contribution to essential nutrient intakes in the U.S. diet: data from the national health and nutrition examination survey (2003–2006)," Peter J Huth, Victor L Fulgoni, Debra R Keast, Keigan Park, Nancy Auestad, Nutrition Journal, August 8, 2013.

At a time when the spotlight is focused on obesity more than ever, new research suggests that frequency of candy consumption is not associated with weight or certain adverse health risks, explains the news release. According to a recent data analysis published in the April 30, 2013 issue of the Nutrition Journal, adults who consume candy at least every other day are no more likely to be overweight nor have greater risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than moderate consumers (about once a week) or even less frequent candy eaters (less than 3 times per month).

Almost all adults (96%) reported eating candy, but there is variability in frequency and quantity consumed at a given time

Previous research has shown that candy consumers are not more likely to be overweight or have greater risk factors for chronic disease than non-consumers of candy. You may wish to check out the study, "Candy consumption was not associated with body weight measures, risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or metabolic syndrome in US adults: NHANES 1999-2004." Nutrition Research. 31(2):122-130. 2011. Authors are O'Neil, C.E., Fulgoni, V.L., and Nicklas, T.A.

This research showed that even the consumers who reported eating the most candy on a given day were not more likely to be at risk for increased weight or disease. Such findings were surprising and required further investigation which this new study set out to do, delving into the role of usual frequency of candy consumption and health/weight outcomes.

This study found that frequency of candy consumption was not associated with the risk of obesity, using objective measures such as BMI, waist circumference and skinfold thickness

Additionally, frequency of candy consumption was not associated with markers of cardiovascular disease risk including blood pressure, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance. Frequency of candy consumption was based on analyses of food frequency questionnaires and data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) – the most recent data set in which these food frequency questionnaires were available – of more than 5,000 U.S. adults ages 19 and older.

"We did not find an association between frequency of candy intake and BMI or cardiovascular risk factors among adults," notes lead author Mary M. Murphy, MS, RD of Exponent®, Inc., Center for Chemical Regulation and Food Safety, according to the May 20, 2013 news release, "New study suggests candy consumption frequency not linked to obesity or heart disease."

The study certainly doesn't provide evidence that candy can be consumed without limits. However, these results suggest that most people are treating themselves to candy without increasing their risk of obesity or cardiovascular disease.

More research is needed to further understand the role candy plays in life and the best tips for candy lovers to include their favorite treats as a part of a happy healthy lifestyle. You also may wish to check out the abstract of another study, "Body weight status and cardiovascular risk factors in adults by frequency of candy consumption," Nutrition Journal 2013. Authors are Murphy MM, Barraj LM, Bi X and Stettler N.

Candy's Contribution to Total Calories, Sugar and Saturated Fat is small

According to the National Cancer Institute's analysis of NHANES 05-06 data (same timeframe as this study), candy contributed an estimated 44 calories per day, or only about 2% of the total caloric intake of an average adult.3. In addition, candy accounted for slightly more than one teaspoon of added sugars (approximately 5 g) or 20 kcal in the diets of adults on a daily basis, which corresponds to a fraction of the 100-150 calorie upper limit of added sugars recommended by the American Heart Association. You may wish to check out the site, "NCI. Table 1b: Mean Intake of Energy and Mean Contribution (kcal) of Various Foods Among US Population, by Age," NHANES 2005. 2010.

Or see, "NCI. Table 5b: Mean Intake of Added Sugars & Mean Contribution (tsp) of Various Foods Among US Population, by Age," NHANES 2005. 2010. By comparison the top three dietary sources of added sugars for adults – sugary drinks, grain-based desserts, and sweetened fruit drinks – account for approximately 60% of the total added sugars intake. You also may wish to check out another site, "Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association," Circulation 2009. Authors are Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, Howard BV, Lefevre M, and Lustig RH, et al.

The National Cancer Institute's analysis

Furthermore, data from the National Cancer Institute's analysis of NHANES 05-06 indicate that candy accounted for only 3.1% of the total saturated fat intake by the US population aged 2 years, or slightly less than 1 g based on a total saturated fat intake of 27.8 g/day. "There is a place for little pleasures, such as candy, in life. A little treat in moderation can have a positive impact on mood and satisfaction, and as emerging research suggests, minimal impact on diet and health risk," says Laura Shumow, MHS, Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, National Confectioners Association, according to the May 20, 2013 news release, "New study suggests candy consumption frequency not linked to obesity or heart disease."

Consumer research confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another.

While social, emotional and health factors also play a role, the foods people enjoy are likely the ones they eat most. This year's key messages for NNM focus on how to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the Dietary Guidelines recommendations, according to the website, "National Nutrition Month - 2014 - From the Academy of Nutrition."

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Beans for teens

You also may be interested in seeing sites such as the National Nutrition Month Catalog or See National Nutrition Month Guidelines. Interestingly, a study shows that people who eat beans weigh less. Check out the April 3, 2006 news release, "Research shows adults and teens who eat beans weigh less." The study came from the National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (1999). The National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (NHANES is a continuous survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

A study unveiled on April 3, 2006 gives new meaning to the word beanpole: The findings show that people who eat beans weigh less than those who don't

Presented at the Experimental Biology conference, April 1-5, 2006, in San Francisco, the study found that adults who eat beans weigh 6.6 pounds less – yet eat 199 more daily calories – than adults who don't eat beans. Similar results were found for teenage bean eaters who consume 335 more daily calories but weigh 7.3 pounds less than non-bean-eating teens.

Data for the study came from the National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (1999-2002). The results also show that:

  • Adult bean eaters consume less total and saturated fat than non-bean eaters and have a 22 per cent lower risk of obesity.
  • Adult and teen bean eaters have smaller waist sizes – three-quarter inch and one inch, respectively
  • The fiber intake of adult and teen bean eaters is more than one-third higher than non-bean eaters

"Beans are an excellent source of fiber and previous studies have shown that high-fiber diets may help reduce body weight, so this makes sense," says Victor Fulgoni, PhD and author of the study, according to the April 3, 2006 news release, Research shows adults and teens who eat beans weigh less. "As well, they are naturally low in fat and cholesterol-free. It's no wonder that beans have been called a 'superfood.'"

The federal government has recognized the many health benefits of beans:

  • MyPyramid, the USDA's recommended eating plan for Americans, lists beans in two food groups. Beans are listed in the Vegetable Group because they are a plant-based food that provides vitamins and minerals. Beans also are listed in the Meat and Beans Group because they are a good source of protein.
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommends that Americans triple their current intake of beans from one to three cups per week. (By the way, MyPyramid was replaced by MyPlate.)

In addition, other research has shown that diets including beans may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. The National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (NHANES) is a continuous survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics with survey data released every two years. NHANES 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 contained data on the food and nutrient intake of 9,965 and 11,039 Americans respectively.

The study was featured in two Experimental Biology poster sessions ("Bean Consumption by Adults is Associated with a More Nutrient Dense Diet and a Reduced Risk of Obesity" and "Bean Consumption is Associated with Better Nutrient Intake and Lower Body Weights and Waist Circumferences in Children") and was sponsored by Bush Brothers and Company. For delicious bean recipes and serving ideas, visit the Bush Beans site. Or if you're looking for beans without added salt and not in a can, you might try the dry beans.

Soaking the beans

Soak beans overnight in your refrigerator and cook them yourself. Then store them overnight cooked in a glass jar so all you have to do in the morning is warm them up or serve cold in a salad. Or you could emulsify/puree the beans with herb and spice-flavored water in your blender and make a bean dip, or turn them into hummus by adding lemon or lime juice or some apple cider vinegar and a handful of sesame seeds, then puree them in a blender and use as a dip with crackers or bread or as a salad dressing.

When you look at studies on any particular food, many times, the studies are sponsored or funded in part by the corporations that manufacture processed versions of the food or farmers who grow the food, depending upon which food is involved in studies of how that food promotes health.

Clear labeling is a big issue that customers want when it comes to food or any other item

Experience helps restaurant managers stick with local foods, says a new study, "Restaurant's decision to purchase local foods: Influence of value chain activities," published in the May 2014 issue of the International Journal of Hospitality Management. Restaurant chefs and food purchasing managers who have bought local foods in the past are more likely to continue adding them to menus and store shelves, according to a team of researchers.

"Past experiences will have an impact on buying local foods," said Amit Sharma, according to the April 7, 2014 news release, "Experience helps restaurant managers stick with local foods." Sharma is an associate professor of hospitality management at Penn State. "Restaurant managers who buy local foods currently are significantly more likely to keep purchasing locally."

In a study of the cost and benefits of purchasing local foods in restaurants, managers and chefs indicated that certain actions of local food producers stand out as reasons why they continue to buy local foods. For instance, managers said that a local farmer's or producer's response time -- the time it took a business to respond and process an order -- was more important than delivery time -- how long it takes to actually receive the goods -- as a factor when they considered buying local food products.

"Interestingly, we did not find that delivery time mattered as much for those who purchased food, not to say that delivery time wasn't a concern at all," said Sharma. "However, what was more important to these managers was the response time of a local food producer."

Food purchasers also indicated that they would not stock local food just because it is local. Local foods must have a unique selling point, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the May 2014 issue of the International Journal of Hospitality Management.

For instance, a special variety apple used in an apple pie may be more important to the food manager than just a locally grown apple

"Simply saying 'local food' was not enough, chefs really want to provide their customers with a dish that is unique," said Sharma, according to the news release. "You can't just slap a label on it that says it's 'local', and expect it to sell, in other words." While many studies have explored the reasons that customers would want local food, this study was focused on management's buying decisions.

"We're not discounting customer demand, we recognize that consumers have to want it -- in fact our previous studies suggest consumers are willing to pay more for local foods," said Sharma. "But the manager has to make decisions before the food is served."

Clear labeling is another selling point for restaurant managers who are purchasing foods in grocery stores and markets

The labels should be accurate and easy to read, containing specifications including weight, date and product details, for example, according to Sharma, who worked with Joonho Moon, doctoral student in hospitality management, Penn State, and Catherine Strohbehn, state extension specialist and adjunct professor in apparel, events and hospitality management, Iowa State University.

Training staff to handle local foods properly and to communicate the advantages of local foods with customer was also an important factor that could explain the decision to purchase local foods.

Commitment of a business to offer local foods

"Training tells us a lot about the commitment of an operation to local foods," said Sharma. "Local foods may or may not be delivered or processed in the same way as non-local foods, so the staff should be trained and, particularly, chefs need to be trained in developing unique menus using local foods."

Managers did not seem to think food safety was an issue with handling local food. "That's not to say food safety isn't important to managers, it just isn't an obstacle to purchasing locally," said Sharma, according to the news release. "It's not a constraint."

The researchers sent surveys to independently owned restaurants in Midwestern states to investigate management's attitudes toward the decision to purchase locally grown foods. "In this project, we investigated the cost-benefit analysis of restaurants purchasing local foods, along the foodservice value chain, which ranged from the sourcing of local food all the way to serving local foods to customers," said Sharma in the news release. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University supported this work.

When food crises spill over

You also may wish to check out the abstract of another article also published in the May 2014 issue of the International Journal of Hospitality Management. "The negative spillover effect of food crises on restaurant firms: Did Jack in the Box really recover from an E. coli scare?" In that study, the abstract notes that despite the enormous impact of food crises on restaurants, limited understanding of their long-term impacts and associated factors has undermined crisis managers’ ability to handle crisis situations effectively.

In the article, researchers investigated the long-term impact of food crises on the financial performance of restaurant firms and identified the factors that influenced this impact. This explanatory study examined the case of Jack in the Box, whose 1993 Escherichia coli scare was the first and largest restaurant-associated food crisis in modern times. An event study method was used to uncover stock price movements of Jack in the Box, in conjunction with 73 unrelated food crises that occurred from 1994 to 2010.

Stock prices of Jack in the Box exhibited significantly negative responses to other firms’ food crises, moreover, the negative spillover effect was stronger if the crisis occurred closer in time, was similar in nature, and was accompanied with no recall execution. These findings shed light on the long-term financial impact of food crises and offer insights for crisis managers to develop more effective crisis management strategies, according to the study's abstract.

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