Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?

Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?
4.56 (91.21%) 91 votes

Canned beans are convenient, but are they as nutritious as home-cooked? And, if we do use canned, should we drain them or not?


Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Canned beans are convenient, but are they as nutritious as home-cooked? And, if you do use canned, should you drain them, or not? This recent study spilled the beans. The federal government recommends about a half a cup a day, counting them as both a protein and a vegetable, since they have the best of both worlds—”excellent sources of fiber and folate, and, they are good sources of plant protein, [plant] iron, [vitamin B1], and [minerals, such as] magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper,” all while being “naturally low in sodium.”

Yet, Americans don’t know beans. 96% of Americans don’t even make the measly minimum recommended intake of beans, chickpeas, split peas, or lentils. That’s actually the same percentage of Americans that doesn’t eat their greens every day. Two of the healthiest things on the planet—greens and beans, and hardly anyone even makes the minimum. Just another “piece [added] to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nation’s diet in crisis.”

Anyway, back to the study—don’t get me started on greens. In addition to their health benefits, beans are cheap. The researchers did a little bean counting, and a serving of beans costs between 10 cents—and, if you want to go crazy, 40 cents. As you can see, canned beans cost about three times more than buying dried beans, and cooking them yourself. But, beans can take hours to cook, so my family just goes wild, and splurges on that extra 20 cents a serving.

Nutrition-wise, cooked and canned are about the same. But, the sodium content of canned beans can be a hundred times that of cooked. Draining and rinsing the canned beans can get rid of about half the sodium, but you’re also draining and rinsing away some of the nutrition. So, I recommend when buying canned beans, get the no-salt added varieties, and keep and use that bean juice. Bottom line: “Beans, regardless of type [or] form, are a nutrient rich food and should be encouraged as part of a healthy diet.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Thanks to Ellen Reid and Minh Nguyen for their Keynote help.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Canned beans are convenient, but are they as nutritious as home-cooked? And, if you do use canned, should you drain them, or not? This recent study spilled the beans. The federal government recommends about a half a cup a day, counting them as both a protein and a vegetable, since they have the best of both worlds—”excellent sources of fiber and folate, and, they are good sources of plant protein, [plant] iron, [vitamin B1], and [minerals, such as] magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper,” all while being “naturally low in sodium.”

Yet, Americans don’t know beans. 96% of Americans don’t even make the measly minimum recommended intake of beans, chickpeas, split peas, or lentils. That’s actually the same percentage of Americans that doesn’t eat their greens every day. Two of the healthiest things on the planet—greens and beans, and hardly anyone even makes the minimum. Just another “piece [added] to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nation’s diet in crisis.”

Anyway, back to the study—don’t get me started on greens. In addition to their health benefits, beans are cheap. The researchers did a little bean counting, and a serving of beans costs between 10 cents—and, if you want to go crazy, 40 cents. As you can see, canned beans cost about three times more than buying dried beans, and cooking them yourself. But, beans can take hours to cook, so my family just goes wild, and splurges on that extra 20 cents a serving.

Nutrition-wise, cooked and canned are about the same. But, the sodium content of canned beans can be a hundred times that of cooked. Draining and rinsing the canned beans can get rid of about half the sodium, but you’re also draining and rinsing away some of the nutrition. So, I recommend when buying canned beans, get the no-salt added varieties, and keep and use that bean juice. Bottom line: “Beans, regardless of type [or] form, are a nutrient rich food and should be encouraged as part of a healthy diet.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Thanks to Ellen Reid and Minh Nguyen for their Keynote help.

Doctor's Note

My family always just keeps an open can of beans in the fridge so we can spoon extra nutrition onto any meal.

Why should we go out of our way to include beans in our daily diet? Increased Lifespan from Beans and BRCA Breast Cancer Genes & Soy, as well as Beans & the Second Meal Effect.

Concerns about gas? See my associated blog post: Beans & Gas: Clearing the Air.

And beans are such a bargain! More tips in:

If the 96% statistic wasn’t depressing enough, be sure to check out Nation’s Diet in Crisis.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Top 10 Most Popular Videos of 2013 and Are Canned Beans as Healthy as Home-Cooked?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

204 responses to “Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?

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  1. I was waiting for this video ! But I have a few questions, I’m concerned about Bisphenol-A and other possible endocrine disruptor in the plastic inside of the can. Is this really a reason of concern or not ? I’m not living in the US and I just can’t find no salt added canned beans in regular supermarket. I do sometime find some white beans in glass jar (so no endocrine disruptor and less environment damage), but those one never come without added salt. Canned are so much more convenient, but can it be recycled efficiently ? I’m feeling sad about all the waste I can produce everyday with canned box.

      1. I just saw your note. To save waste you can use dried legumes, in bags from the grocers. Soak overnight then cook with at least an inch of water over them, covered for about 2 hours. Check them every 20 to 30 minutes to make sure they have enough water. I am starting to that instead of canned, and I am cooking 2 kinds each time. Variety is the spice of life!!

        1. The vast majority of canned foods have added sodium and possibly BPA. Dried is better. There are now automated counter-top pressure cookers readily available for less than $100USD. You do not need to presoak the beans and they are ready in 1/2 hr to 45 minutes.

          Dr. Ben

          1. the problem is if it costs an extra 2 cents like the Doctor’s says, the companies will charge $1.00
            so its not affordable for the average consumer that is struggling to fed their family.

            1. Grocer in Illinois selling multipacks of four cans of several kinds of beans..they are organic and come in a bpa free can..with the member card they sell for 1.00/4pk.
              That’s .25 a can..
              Things are getting there.
              Buying dry beans still best idea,but find a good source..some need extensive cleaning.
              PS.. rinse canned beans.

      1. There are some stores if you live in california that you can my beans and other things in bulk and take home to store in your own glass jars. Like whole foods. cheaper way to go is a food co-op.

        1. If there’s a place near you that sells beans in bulk, as many natural food stores do, you can bring your own reusable container or bag.

      1. Many canned product replacing bpa lining uses a wax coating.
        I agree about glass being best preference,but please expand on chemicals in other linings.

    1. This has been bothering me for some time. From time to time, I enjoy the canned beans in tomato sauce, since they require no work. Open and eat.
      That said, I have seen a couple demo’s of Chef AJ using an electric pressure cooker. Can’t be easier or cheaper, and I think it will be a worthwhile investment for me even as the only bean eater in the house.

      1. I own an electric pressure cooker and I highly recommend it. I cook all of my beans in it. It takes less than 60 minutes to cook chickpeas and that is without soaking them first. Mine is called “Instant Pot”.

        1. I got one last year, but I honestly don’t use it much (yes, the programmable Instant Pot) for beans. I find things take a very long time to cook because of the pre-heat time, even when using hot water. I will use it more in winter, though. Great for butternut squash, as the peel becomes edible too.

          1. I timed it. My instant pot takes 15 minutes to get up to pressure when I use hot tap water. Black beans then take an additional 30 and garbanzos take 35 for me. They’re perfectly cooked, and you can beat it. I love beans in my green salads!

        2. My instant pot takes 15 minutes to get up to pressure when I use hot tap water. Black beans then take an additional 30 and garbanzos take 35 for me. They’re perfectly cooked, and you can beat it. I love beans in my green salads!

    2. The Bisphenol-A is very problematic and should be avoided at all costs. Getting sick can be so convenient, too! Make your own. Reducing your toxic load from all sources is an excellent stepping stone toward reducing your chance of chronic disease.

      1. One can not get away from toxins. They are everywhere. Sources. Outgassing from plastic carpets,cheap furniture, cardboard, aerosol cans. Plastic and sound deadening materials in your car,
        Drugs in your drinking water, hair shampoo and hair spray. Not to mention the coating on breakfast cereals, ..most new homes have plastic water pipes. Most milk and beef have female hormones and unknown drugs in it. Seafood from China and Vietnam. Which U.S. Cities have lead pipes. ONLY ONE…?
        We are told to use fluorescent lights that have Mercury gas in them. Is there a place you can recycle that mercury? What unknown pollutants come from China in all the items they use for packaging. Recently a well known drug company sold China the right to make and distribute that drug in the USA. ELECTRICAL CORDS from China,South Korea all have lead in them. What type of contaminates
        Are in all the stuffed toys you buy for your children to play with.
        I have only touched on a few sources here,so I am not going to be worrying about the lining of the tin lid coating

        1. Many canned product replacing bpa lining uses a wax coating.
          I agree about glass being best preference,but please expand on chemicals in other linings.

          To ingest and process food through organs on a daily basis is different from the trolling inference that everything will kill us…
          I speak to groups and know exactly when a person from heartland institute has dropped by..

    3. I love that beans are a part of a healthy diet. How about part of a healthy planet? Canned beans use mined metal, which is a dirty process to mine, polluting air, soil and water. The metal is trucked/shipped to be processed using oil as the energy source, before being formed into the metal we see as cans, which have to be manufactured as well. Then labels, made of paper produced from trees that are cut, shipped, stripped, chipped and pulped to make paper, then printed, the inks have to be made, packaged and shipped as well before being printed on the labels, which get wrapped around the cans, using more energy. Beans are sent to the processing plants where they are washed, cooked, salted etc, and then poured into cans and sealed. These cans are placed into shipping boxes, made of cardboard from trees, and then sent by truck, rail, ship etc using fossil fuels to a port, or a warehouse before being reloaded and shipped by truck to individual stores. Bulk beans skip that whole mining, trucking, canning and labeling process reducing energy use that reduces green house gas. So in the end, the beans we buy in bulk have a much smaller ecological footprint, and this footprint has a huge impact on the health of our ecosystems, wildlife and ultimately, us. I encourage everyone to skip the mining and use bulk beans!

      1. I would imagine that the convenience of beans in a can increases their consumption in the western world by orders of magnitude, which is great for the planet.

    4. A video a few days ago warned about BPA levels in canned soup and the problems they can cause. Why would canned beans be any different? Seems like contradictory advice. I just purchased a pressure cooker from a friend for $25, so we’ll be using dries beans from this time out, so not a huge problem for my family anymore. I’ve eaten more beans in the last week than the last two months…makes for some easy mornings on the potty, haha!

      1. Hard for some grocers in rural areas to store bagged dry not a can fan,but I promise,’s very easy to find a can of beans organically grown and in a bpa free can.
        storage at home for some is an issue also..
        Clean ,healthy food still needs. To have some flexibility.
        I’ve been attempting to make local farmers markets sell actual healthy and fresh food…seems to be my hardest(political) problem

    1. I’m personally more concerned about endocrine disruptor (particularly Bisphenol-A and Phthalates) and environmental damage.

      “[…] studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates can trigger what’s known as “death-inducing signaling” in testicular cells, making them die earlier than they should. Yep, that’s cell death – in your man parts. If that’s not enough, studies have linked phthalates to hormone changes, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm, birth defects in the male reproductive system […]”

        1. I know for Eden brand, but unfortunately it’s not available in my country. Thanks to remember me this video, it’s good to see them twice. Do you have data about draining possibly reducing the BPA content ? I had an minor skin issue – epigastric pyogenic granuloma – that I personnaly correlate with canned corn consomption. Wild guess or possible link ? Is that mean my angiogenesis is out of balance ?

          1. You can buy them by the case on Amazon, ship to your home. Much easier to just by bulk beans and cook up a batch on Sunday to last most the week. When I first went veggie, I would cook a huge pot on Sundays and wrap them as a burrito, freezing 10 burritos per bag, pulling them out the day before to eat the next day.

            1. Thanks for the tips, but for Amazon they said:
              “We’re sorry. This item can’t be shipped to your selected destination. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order.”

          1. As far as Eden canned beans…I was recently told at the Nature’s Market of Wegmans that Edens is taking their BPA free label off. Seems the lining that they are using has been dissolving into the beans. I noticed a metallic taste last time I had them.

            1. Sue: That’s very interesting. I didn’t notice a change in the label, but I did notice that the can of Eden beans that I opened this weekend did not have a white lining like it had previously. Thanks for the possible head’s up.

        2. Thanks for clarifying that, Dr. Greger. I was wondering the same thing. It is nice to know that I can buy Eden brand without worry. Thanks for all your posts – they are wonderful!!

        3. Great video and I can live with the minimal gas. I don’t know what they use as an alternative and whether or not it poses any risks, but Amy’s brand doesn’t use BPA (and their vegan chili’s are one of my favorite ways to get my daily beans ! )

        1. Thanks HemoDynamic, I try to avoid plastic in water bottle, and food container indeed (that’s good for mother earth too). I learn from scientist that these chemicals don’t stay very long in our systems, but chronicle exposure is of concern. And we should consume beans almost daily if I get it right…

          1. BPA is used in production of SOME PVC (type 3) and SOME “other types” of plastic (type 7). Water bottles, food packaging, and food containers are usually made of polypropylene (PP, type 5), polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, types 2 and 4) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET, type 1). Sometimes polystyrene (type 6), there might be a reason not to heat food in PS containers, but it’s not BPA.

  2. Dried beans don’t take hours to cook if you use a pressure cooker. Chickpeas (which can take 90 minutes in a conventional pot) only take 15 minutes if they are presoaked, and you can even do a 10-minute quick-soak in the P.C. if you didn’t plan ahead. If you cook the beans directly in the soup or stew you’re making, you won’t lose any nutrients from the water. A good pressure cooker can be a bit of an investment, but for me it was well worth it. I use mine all the time. If you want some good bean soup recipes for the P.C., check out Lorna Sass’s Complete Vegetarian Kitchen.

    1. llilly: Concerning that Lorna Sass book. I’m a big fan of Lorna Sass’s “Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure” The title says “Vegetarian”, but the recipes are really all vegan. Just an FYI.

    1. Sprouting is the way to go, the enzyme inhibitor is released and makes the beans much more digestible for folks with protein probs. Besides less energy and time to cook ’em. Takes about 1 1/2 days to sprout them through the skin. Temp. makes a difference. Learn how to sprout its healthier. I cook them slow on a wood stove.

  3. Are there any studies that have compared the heavy metal content of canned beans before they are cooked inside the can to the heavy metal content after they are cooked inside the can? These cans and containers do not seem as strong as a pan we’d use on the stove. Also, when I take a can opener and open the lid, what happens to the tiny metal fragments that separate the lid from the can? Please address these pertinent issues. They are of major concern for many vegans.

    1. Metal shavings or pieces can be a problem. About 40 years ago there was a can opener that removed the lid by prying it apart from the can without cutting. Don’t know if they are still available. Maybe a search on the web will be productive.

      1. Leo: About 10 years ago I bought one that does just that! I got mine from Bed Bath and Beyond, and I believe that “Pampered Chef” still sells one. The trick is to find one that “breaks the seal” on the can rather than doing any cutting.

        I absolutely adore mine. No sharp edges. No metal fragments. No dirty top of can falling into the food. Just breaking the seal. I don’t know if this type of can opener is any harder to find now-a-days in real stores, but after a lot of searching I was able to find one on-line. So, I know they can still be purchased one way or another.

        “guest” : I hope you can find one if you are interested.

  4. I “call” your kidney beans and “raise” you a cup of anasazi beans!

    They’re Magical!

    The Jalapeno is for “kicks”!

  5. I use President’s Choice brand organic beans for emergencies & snacks (no BPA) but do believe Dr. Sherry Rogers’ (holistic environmental illness specialist) who states the canning of beans destroys the very small amounts of extremely important trace minerals such as molybdenum and vanadium, extremely important for detox & pancreatic function respectively. When making my own beans I can add kombu which will dissolve & provide its many mineral nutrients as well as adding celtic sea salt at the end, providing more of those 78 precious trace minerals that are so difficult to find in the average diet. I must discipline myself to make quantities & “can” them in mason jars for reasons of convenience, health & recycling.

    1. Puka, how do you “can” your beans afterwards? I’m a new mom, and I have very limited time. I really can’t be making my beans all the time, but I can usually find a few hours in the evening to make a big batch. I just don’t know how to best store them so that I can use them days, if not weeks later. Advise?

      1. If you have a slow cooker, you can use that to cook beans overnight while you sleep. Lots of sites on the web with instructions. Then I just put them in containers and freeze them. (I’m still working on finding non-plastic containers for the freezer though!)

        1. wide-mouth glass jars for freezer containers, tops can be the canning lid and rims or a plastic top with a rubber ring made by Tattler.

      2. After cooking your beans, put them into sterilized canning jars with lids & put them into a canning pot with a lid, boil until sealed (15 minutes). It seems the ideal way for me as my freezer is full of homemade food for my dogs.

    2. I don’t know what Sherry Rogers says, but it simply is not possible to “destroy” molybdenum or vanadium by canning any more than it is possible to destroy other metals such as iron or calcium by canning. Perhaps you have not properly interpreted her argument.

      Just as a matter of validation, I am a research chemist (PhD).

      1. Thanks. Nice to have a rational response that is actually informed by knowledge, rather than the kind of knee-jerk Luddism that Rogers practices–“Canning bad–destroys minerals.”

        I wonder how it is that people like Rogers think the can survives the canning process. It’s metals, minerals, too.

        1. I’m wondering is perhaps I am not remembering her comment correctly. I wonder if she was comparing non organic to organic. It’s been a long time since I’ve read her excellent books (I was very sick with MCS during time).

  6. What about BPA in cans? Anyway. I share your frustration with cooking my own. However, two different friends from Brazil recently informed me that they both use a pressure cooker and it’s works very well. It cuts the cook time and repeats the process easily without having to monitor the cooking process. Instant Pot seems to be the machine to own. Will try my new one soon.

  7. Dr G – great video as always. When I prepare beans in a crock pot, I first soak them for awhile and then drain/rinse. Then I cook them. They end up several shades more pale than canned beans or photos of beans you see in recipes. Is this a concern? Am I losing nutrients? Should I adjust my prep technique?

    1. I think overall, it is not a major concern. Cooking anything will create a loss of some nutrients. But the amounts are too small to have any physiological harm.

  8. It was interesting to find that Dr John McDougall has a line of prepared bean meals packed in carton containers with very low salt. Quite good, IMHO.

  9. I cook batches of beans and put them in canning jars or glass peanut butter jars and freeze them – it’s fast and easy to make my own convenience food! I usually cook them in a pressure cooker (my favorite is the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker). I especially love cooking chickpeas – I used to avoid them because I can’t stand the smell of canned chickpeas. Freshly cooked are wonderful, and I’m amazed that there is such a difference.

  10. I am concerned about BPAs in canned beans, and about the as-yet-un-researched BPA alternatives in cans used by Eden and other manufacturers. I avoid canned foods altogether–the so-called “convenience” of canned foods is not worth the potential damage by hormone disruptors. It doesn’t have to take all that long to cook beans–google the “Russ Parsons method”–can be adapted to stove-top or slow cookers as well.

  11. For the love of god people, just buy a pressure cooker. Why do we insist on eating food barely fit for a fallout shelter. It will take about as much time as cooking rice. Now, canned rice… There’s an idea. What’s wrong with you America!?! Why doesn’t everyone just eat canned rice?!?

    1. I am with you Roger. I am not really understanding the difficulty of cooking beans. I don’t use a pressure cooker and cooking them is easy. What am I missing? Do people not spend 2 hours in a row at home?

      1. Veganrunner: re: “Do people not spend 2 hours in a row at home?”

        I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with your approach here. I don’t think it is productive to be dismissive of people who eat canned beans. People eating whole beans whether from a can or dried are doing a million times better than the people who don’t eat beans at all.

        While I agree that cooking beans is not hard, it is far from convenient. First, you really have to plan ahead – re for soaking time or slow cooking time or 2 hours cooking time. When you cook the beans, you are usually not making your meal. You are just making *one ingredient* in your meal. (Obviously I’m not talking about soups etc. here – just when you want cooked beans.) All of this is yet one more step for home cooking your food. For someone like me who hates to cook, that extra step of making individual ingredients first is a burden. The issue is compounded, because I do all my cooking on weekends. Fitting in all that elapsed time for beans restricts when I can cook the rest of my dish. I want to do other things on weekends besides just cooking.

        And the hassle goes beyond the actual cooking of the beans. To be even close to as convenient as cans, you then have to “can” or freeze the beans. I literally do not have the room in my freezer. My freezer is packed with frozen veggies, fruit, grains and leftover dishes. Even if I had the room in the freezer, there are two more considerations: 1) I would then have to have a system in place for labeling and organizing the containers. 2) I have to add “defrosting time” to get to use the beans the next time I want to cook a recipe with beans.

        Is all of this hard? No. Am I around for 2 hours? Yes. But it’s not an additional 2 hours that I want to spend dealing with beans (even in the background) on top of the already burdensome cooking chores I have taken on each and every weekend in order to eat healthy. So, not hard, but it is time consuming and a mental burden.

        Balance that thought against this one: the canned beans also taste very good! I may like the dried beans that I cook up better than canned, but the canned ones are also truly delicious. When I open a can of beans for a recipe, I often sample one. And then another. And I have to make myself stop or I won’t have enough for my recipe.

        Bottom line: I cook beans in the pressure cooker sometimes. Other times I use cans. Yeah me for eating my beans!

        1. Hi Thea,
          I am not being dismissive of people eating canned beans but of the idea that cooking beans is an issue. There are many of my friends and family who would say cooking beans is difficult but I can also say they have never tried.

        2. Thea: Thank you! If it weren’t for canned beans, my bean consumption would go way down. I have a feeling I speak for millions. On weeknights I get home at 7:30, and my weekends are filled. (I also have limited counter and cabinet space.) If I had the time, I would make my own milk (“easy”), make my own cheese (“easy”), grow my own vegetables (“easy”), make my own shampoo (“easy”), etc. But we all have to make difficult choices about divvying up limited time. So many people are eating fast food and animal burgers, or even relying on super-high salt, oil, and sugar takeout. I’m glad I cook the vast majority of my meals, and they’ve been plant-based for over 14 years. Even with canned beans – gasp. These days, at Whole Foods-type stores, it’s easy to find canned beans without BPA and with no added salt.

  12. I eat lots of beans that I cook myself in a pressure cooker. It’s fast, uses less energy, and the beans come out better and more flavorful. I cook about a pound of dried beans per week, yielding about 6 cups. I use them in tacos, I make a veggie chili and top a potato with them, I make veggie patties with them.
    And Dr. Greger it was nice meeting you in person in Boston this past weekend. I was the guy with the 130 cholesterol, 54 HDL, and 53 LDL. Maybe my low LDL can partially be attributed to my high bean consumption, LOL! (I’m sure it’s not hurting me.)

  13. Biggest myth is it’s so troublesome to cook beans. Nonsense. Simply add water to beans before you go to bed–in the morning they’re ready for the slow cooker. Which is effortless to use.

    Or use in any time frame–soak em during the day, they’re ready to cook that afternoon/evening. Or overnight in slow cooker set on low.

    Please, Dr. Greger, as soon as you and other great educators point out any healthy food is inexpensive, the price goes up. Garbanzos not too long ago were around a buck a pound where I bought them. Now they’re over $3 a pound! Happens whenever you point out the relatively cheap price of healthy foods. Red cabbage ain’t cheap anymore where I shop–price has gone thru the roof!

    1. If you happen to have a 99 cent Store chain near you try them. They have almost every kind of dried bean you can think of as well as tons of fresh produce for a fraction of what I’ve seen anywhere else. I go there once a week to stock up on my smoothie fixins.

  14. I prefer to cook my own beans – I share the concern regarding canned food, and home cooked beans have a better texture and taste. To prepare beans is nearly a reflex now – water and beans in a bowl at bedtime, place the bowl in the fridge, after work the next day, you cook the beans for one hour, and in this hour you can work, run, play with the kids, talk to the wife, read the paper, listen to Michael Greger on NF etc. Make a big bowl so there are enough to several days, and put the rest in the freezer in small boxes. Then you have beans for several days. Worktime 5 min. I dont look at the beans cooking :-)

  15. I know this may not be the right place for this – as it’s off-topic – but Dr G. asked me to post this question on the website rather than email him directly.

    I was wondering if you could help me to optimize the breakfast shake I make for breakfast. Actually it’s more of a puree than a shake, since it’s not drinkable – I take it with a spoon.

    In a magic bullet container:
    -4-5 tbsp of mixed assorted nuts & seeds (walnut/almond/filbert/pecan/sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds)
    -2 brazil nuts
    -1 tbsp of organic cocoa nibs (whole)
    -1 tbsp of hemp protein powder
    -2 tbsp of whole flaxseeds
    -1 tbsp of wheat germ
    -1 tbsp of wheat bran
    -0.25 cup of frozen blueberries to sweeten
    -0.5 cup of ‘motherless’ unsweetened almond milk

    I use to put 2 tbsp of sesame seeds in this, but I’ve taken them out.

    On the side, I eat raw vegetables and a glass of water.

    Is there anything else that should go into this?

    Thanks in advance!

      1. Thanks, Brandon! I used to have metabolic syndrome so I am trying to avoid high GI grains and high GI fruits, but will look into the Chai spices.

    1. i see you have 2 T of whole flax; i hope its ground because Dr. G has reported we only get the nutritional benefits when flax is ground. plus it’s a great texture in a smoothie. i think grinding them separately is the way to go, they fluff up that way and it’s just so nice! then i’d say add an antioxidant spice: though make sure to check the comments there for updated info.

      1. I don’t know about the Magic Bullet, but the Nutri Bullet (same manufacturer) makes quick work of whole flax seeds when combined with the other ingredients without the need to grind them separately. I would be inclined to leave out the hemp powder. The nuts provide plenty of protein. In its place I would add some greens or either up the berries or add some other fruit such as an apple. Also, as Dr. Greger has mentioned previously, a teaspoon of amla powder really supercharges the antioxidant value.

        1. Thanks Psych MD. The Magic Bullet does grind up the whole flax seeds. Agree about the hemp powder but I just bought another bag of it! :-( Oh well. I don’t think 1 tbsp will hurt me. I eat a lot of greens on the side – raw spinach, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, green string beans – I can’t fit all that into a magic bullet, and one thing I like best about the magic bullet’s size is calorie control. I agree that the hemp does not add much to the nuts since both are relatively low in lysine.

      2. Hi Faang, I agree. The flaxseed is ground up by the magic bullet’s blades, otherwise it would be fairly useless. Which antioxidant spice gives the best flavour punch?

    2. I think you have too many fats in this smoothie…ie nuts, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, cocoa nibs….You should limit it to 1 TB total and put handfulls of greens instead. I also throw in 1/2 cup of whatever beans I have on hand. Those nuts are not just protein but fat. Good fat but unless you are super thin that is too many nuts according to Dr Fuhrman.

      1. Thanks Kathleen. It IS a lot of fat. When I was also eating an avocado on the side and also more brazil nuts in the smoothie, I would occasionally get a major stomach ache from all that fat. I ditched the avocado and limited the brazil nuts to two only (for selenium). This took the stomach ache away. Regarding being thin, I am 127 lbs, 5 foot 6.

        The hemp is isolated protein powder, and has very little fat in it (about 250 mg of omega-3 – i.e. 0.25 g).

        Greens won’t fit into my magic bullet, which is very small. Rather, I eat these on the side. I could add some beans but wonder about the taste. Only one way to find out, I guess! I would take something away to make room for the beans so I am not overloading on protein (perhaps fewer nuts).

    3. I would just add a bit more milk or water to make it drinkable, and add a leaf or two of kale or other dark green leafy.

      I think a great smoothie for me (athletic, fast metabolism) has plant sources of fat (nuts/flaxseeds), protein, fruit, motherless milk and some kind of dark green leafy. Any place you can sneak in dark green leafies is good, and here’s an opportunity to eat a raw piece of collard greens or kale, without hardly tasting it!

      An interesting question is the importance of how one drinks the smoothie. Does it make a big difference if you swallow quickly vs. if you chew or swirl it around in the mouth, to get the digestive enzymes breaking these phytonutrients down…?

      1. Thanks, Jordan. I am allergic to kale, and tend to eat all my greens on the side. I tried adding chai spices today and they made the shake unpalatable (even at 1/4 tsp. I will try again at 1/8 tsp). I wonder if collard greens are related to kale and thus I won’t tolerate them either. Do not want to go through 5 days of explosive diarrhea and nausea again…

  16. My personal favorite bean is the kabuli black chickpea, which has considerably more fiber (and less starch/sugar) than the regular pale white chickpea. Goes by a number of different names including “Bengal gram”, “Kala chana” or “Chhola boot”. They apparently cause considerably fewer blood glucose oscillations in diabetics than the traditional pale colored chickpea which is very high in starch and sugar. One can get them at middle eastern stores, Pakistani stores, Indian stores and some regular large grocery store chains like Loblaws.

    I soak them overnight, drain and rinse them and then simmer them on the stove for 20-25 minutes. I test them to make sure they are still crisp but not too crisp to the taste. I then dump the water and re-rinse them. A half cup cooked provides 35% of daily iron needs. They are a wonderful source of protein and can be put into any dish (soups, salads, etc). I have not been able to find them in cans but don’t mind soaking and cooking them from a bag of dried beans. I don’t use a pressure cooker to do this, just a saucepan and a lid.

  17. Here’s a couple sources for Eden beans. Watch the sites for sales and volume prices. No one in the world should be without the food they need. If you have a computer, and it looks like you do, keep up the hunt. Eden is making large cans now too, so it is even cheeper. No salt, No BPA and cooked in pure water with some Kombu. Just like home cooked, and organic. I haven’t seen organic in those bulk bins.


    1. I buy Eden Organic foods regularly. And, I was delighted to learn that their pressed tomatoes are housed in glass containers, which I now buy by the case.

      But, I’m concerned about both BPA and BPA-Free. The latter of which are now said to be more toxic than the BPA, itself.

      “BPA is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the endocrine system, even
      in small amounts. It has been linked to a wide variety of ills,
      including infertility, breast and reproductive system cancer, obesity,
      diabetes, early puberty, behavioral changes in children and resistance
      to chemotherapy treatments,” according to research gathered by the Environmental Working Group.

      We must also consider packaging materials which can leach into foods, especially those that contain liquids, if we are to become as healthy as possible.

      This is the reason I have yet to purchase a Vitamix blender, because of the jar, which is a BPA substitute.

    1. It is nonsense. It again brings up non issues of eating raw beans which nobody really does. Every study out there shows a strong link with bean consumption and lower mortality.

  18. Regardless of what the good doctor says, cooking dried beans takes less than an hour if you simply soak them the night before. Black beans take the longest, chick peas take half as long, and lentils don’t need to be soaked to cook in around the same time as chick peas or garbanzo beans.

    1. PS – shopping for organic non-BPA canned beans low in sodium can be more time consuming than grabbing a bunch organic bulk beans and taking them home to soak overnight.

      1. Paul: Once you know where your preferred brand of canned beans are, you go right to them each time. Very fast. And when you get home, you don’t have to soak them. You can just open the can and eat them.

        When you buy organic bulk beans, you not only have to find the the type you want for the first time, but every time. The bulk section at the store I go to has 4 pretty big isles of bulk-type foods. The beans are generally in one area, but there is a large number of varieties and organic and non-organic are mixed together. Plus, the store moves things around fairly often. So, my organic garbanzo beans may be 1/3 down the isle on the top shelf somewhere today, but moved down a shelf next week. It always takes me a lot longer to find the say organic garbanzos in the bulk section than it does to find them in the canned.

        And then I have to find a bag to put the beans in. Then I have write down the bin number.

        Is it hard to find the dried bulk organic beans? No. It’s quite do-able, and I do it all the time. But I can’t imagine a situation in which the purchase process of bulk beans would actually be faster than canned.

        I just want to make sure we don’t exaggerate one method or the other. I think its truly awesome that you get your beans from the bulk bin. You are a good role model for the rest of us.

        1. When you open a can and then eat the beans, you are also eating all the components which make up the cans like lead in the sodder, or aluminum in the can, or epoxy of bisphenol A which is in polycarbonated coated cans or a substitute which is said to be more toxic than BPA in BPA-free cans!

          These make your fast food even more toxic than soaking the beans in carbon filtered or Reverse Osmosis filtered water, throwing out the soaking liquids, and cooking them in freshly filtered waters.
          You can speed up the process by first rinsing and sorting the beans. Boiling them for 30 minutes, pouring off the boiling waters. Start with fresh filtered waters again, and cooking until done, which is generally under 2 hours on a low temperature without salt. Salt after they are cooked.

          If you ignored the packaging materials, you are taking risks with your health and that of your family.

  19. Hi. Here in Northern Europe there is a fantastic brand of beans ( which are organic, cheap and packed in tetrapack, so no metal or plastic. Their motto is:

    Yes we can. Forget the can :D

    Do you have something like this in the US? Is it safe this kind of packaging? I guess it is at least a lot safer than Can and plastic.

      1. “Aseptic packages are made of several laminated layers, including paper, aluminum and low-density polyethylene. High amounts of non-wood materials and [there is] a lack of knowledge on the manufacturing process.”

        I wonder which layers would come in contact with food or liquids. I should think packaging dry goods like beans in LDPE would be safer than packaging in unknowns, and then preparing the beans yourself.

    1. Shaikailash: re: “Do you have something like this in the US?” In fact, we do. But it is very hard to find. I haven’t found beans in a tetra pak in my area. I only know it is available in the US because I saw a DVD from Jeff Novick recently saying that he found some in his grocery store. But that DVD is a couple years old already I think, so maybe that company went out of business?

      Your question was interesting to me and prompted me to to a bit of research on tetra packs. I have no idea how reliable the following is, but here are some quotes that I think are relevant:

      “Hard data notwithstanding, the new paper versus plastic debate is still very nuanced. Tetra Pak cartons are only 75% paper; the rest of the package contains aluminum and polyethylene. As is the case with PET bottles, not all municipalities recycle Tetra Pak cartons, though the fault often lies with cities, not with packaging companies. Furthermore, both PET and Tetra Pak cartons have come under scrutiny for their long-term health effects on consumers.”

      and from Wikipedia:
      “Since the aseptic packages contain different layers of plastic and aluminum in addition to raw paper, they cannot be recycled as “normal” paper waste, but need to go to special recycling units for separation of the different materials.”

      So, when you write, “no metal or plastic”, how sure are you of that?

      If it is true that these packages have both aluminum and plastic (and since at least in my city the tetra paks can’t be recycled), that tells me that the tetra paks are probably no healthier for us or the environment than cans. What a bummer!

      Thanks for your post. You prompted me to do some research and learn about the tetra paks.

  20. Thanks again for great info. Takes TOO LONG TO COOK BEANS?
    the smart way to cook grains or beans is to SOAK THEM beforehand
    and throwaway the soak water then rinse them..
    I soak beans for 12+ hours or more before cooking, and grains 8 hours.
    It takes way to long to cook dry beans, what wasted energy. I once worked
    in a vegetarian restaurant. We would put a huge pot on the stove daily filled
    with water to cook dry beans. We could have saved 1/2 or more of the cooking
    time by soaking them before……namaste’, rachel

  21. Thanks you for doing this video! I have often wondered about if there is any huge difference – working full time makes it hard to cook our own beans so we heavily rely on canned beans! Now I can stop worrying! :-)

  22. Learning to properly soak, sprout or cook beans is a crucial moment in healthy plant eating. They taste sooooooo much better than canned. I soak everything – beans, grains, and sometimes seeds and nuts. I do not cook beans in their soaking water. Taste test hummus with canned versus soaked and cooked chickpeas. Also try raw hummus with sprouted chick peas. Yum.

  23. Electric pressure cookers are a very convenient way to cook beans, grains, or potatoes. They are programmable so you have fresh food when you get home from work. It will pay for itself quickly and it’s better for the environment because you aren’t throwing bean cans in the trash.

  24. Dr. Greger, thanks so much for your hard work and research. Because of you, I’ve converted to a plant-based diet and feel amazing. My Dad is a diabetic, and I’ll keep flooding him until he converts to veggie as well. :-P

    My question is: I’m concerned with beans and “anti-nutrient phytates”. I know that if preparing from dry, soaking and boiling mostly deactivates the anti-nutrient properties, but what about canned? Good straight from the can, or should I boil before?

    Or does it depend on the brand?

    1. Jon: It is my understanding that all canned beans are cooked right in the can. I.e., canned beans are cooked. So, the phytates are not a problem.

      Good luck with your dad. I know how hard it is to see family members needlessly suffering. All you can do is be a good role model and give a little nudging and info when the recipient is able to hear it. I hope your dad will be able to listen soon!

    2. All canned beans either receive epoxy of Bisphenol A [BPA] or BPA free substitutes, which are in polycarbonate plastics. These leach the toxic chemicals from the containers into the canned food and liquids. Independent studies show that these are endocrine disrupting chemicals. The endocrine system regulates the body’s hormones.

      Eden Organic switched from BPA cans to BPA-free cans years ago to protect consumers, but at the time, no studies were done on BPA-free. Now they are coming in.

      Learn more about BPA at:

  25. Thanks for this info on beans. What can you eat to get better if if you have been diagnosed with Hpylori? Won’t beans give more gas?

    1. Beans don’t have to give you gas. It depends how they are cooked. Soak overnight first. Pour off the soaking waters, rinse with filtered waters (carbon filtered to reduce pesticides or some industrial chemicals and chlorine; reverse osmosis to reduce fluoride, toxic heavy metals including some from fracking practices).

      Add new, freshly filtered water and cook up to 6 hours depending on the beans at a low temperature. Pinto beans take about 2 hours, soybeans (get organic, of course) will take longer, at least 4 hours or more. The fresher the beans, the faster they’ll cook. Old beans take a very long time, I’ve learned.

      But the key is starting with an overnight to 12 hour soaking time and pouring off the soaking waters to reduce flatulence.

  26. If there was a Nobel Prize for recommending the most flatulent diet, then Dr. Greger would be the winner. Dr. Greger doesn’t seem to understand that the vast majority of working class Americans need to minimize their flatulence and end up selecting their daily diet based on which foods didn’t cause much flatulence. Avoidance of flatulence and avoidance of calories are the 2 biggest reasons why low-carb diets are so popular despite their health disadvantages. Dr. Greger worsens the flatulence problem by recommending high-sugar foods such as dried fruits, which cause about one-fourth to one-third as much flatulence as whole beans.

    The typical Japanese person in Japan has a living space that is only one-seventh that of the typical American. Despite this, the Japanese in Japan have learned to survive on foods made from soybeans. Natto, which is the healthiest food that anybody can eat, doesn’t cause much flatulence because it is fermented. Tofu and unsweetened soymilk, because 90% of the fiber has been removed, don’t cause much flatulence either. Edamame, because about half of the flatulence-causing raffinose has been bred out, can be eaten in moderation because the flatulence that it causes is substantially less severe than whole soybean foods and TVP (American-style soybean meat).

    The Japanese in Japan eat plenty of both brown rice and white rice. Rice is the only starch that doesn’t cause flatulence.

    1. Soaking beans 8 hours/overnight and pouring off the soaking waters. Cooking/ simmering with fresh (and carbon filtered) waters eliminates flatulence.

      TVP adds another problem. Most if not all TVP is GMO soy. Flatulence will be the least of your problems with GMO soy.

  27. I am so faithful to my crockpot. It cooks any kind of bean so slowly and gently. Remember you can add spices to the water at the beggining but do not salt them til the end.

  28. I always cook my own. It takes time but it’s not “active” work. They’re just soaking overnight or simmering on the stove. Make a pile and throw them in the freezer! Just thaw them when you need to throw them in a meal!

  29. I avoid BPA and the toxic substitute, which is now said to be worse than BPA, buy purchasing dried beans, rinsing, soaking for 8 hours (pouring off soaking waters), and then cooking them myself. I bring the pot to a boil, and reduce the flame to low for 2-3 hours.

    Presoaking reduces cooking time, and the gas produced from beans. And, presoaking over night, helps shorten preparation time for the next day.

    A slow cooker can help, if you have a hot setting. But, mine does not get hot enough to cook the beans by dinner time, so I cook them on the stove for a couple hours with fresh, carbon filtered waters.

  30. I recently went to purchase mung beans in bulk, and saw they came from China. I am not satisfied about Chinese food standards and regulations. So, I went to look for something local. I found a local Canadian company called ShaSha Co. that packages local sprouted mung beans, adzuki beans, lentils and brown rice, which I purchased. I have a question about whether there is any meaningful nutritional benefit to sprouted mung beans, adzuki beans, lentils, and brown rice, compared to non-sprouted beans, lentils and rice.

  31. Hummus in the Blender
    You can make this with either canned or home cooked chickpeas. If you’re using canned, I recommend using organic beans. Drain the liquid from one of the cans, but leave the other undrained and use its liquid instead of the water. If you’re using home cooked chickpeas, you may need less water so start with barely 3/4 cup and add more if the hummus is too thick.
    3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15-ounce cans, 1 drained)
    3/4 to 1 cup water or chickpea cooking broth (or the liquid from 1 can of chickpeas)
    2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled
    2 tablespoons tahini (or 4 tablespoons sesame seeds)
    2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1/4 to 1 teaspoon cumin
    1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or cayenne pepper
    Salt to taste
    Place all ingredients except salt in the blender in the order listed, using the smaller amounts. Start the machine on low and increase speed to high. Use the Vitamix plunger to break up air pockets and push chickpeas toward the blades, if necessary. (Other blenders: Stop and use a spatula to do this.) If the mixture is too thick, add additional water a little at a time. Turn up to the highest speed and blend for a few seconds until hummus is completely smooth.
    This is a recipe from the website of the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
    I leave out the tahini, cumin paprika and chipotle and only put one garlic clove and put in a jar 4oz of drained pimientos and 3-8 cashews depending on peoples preferences. Most people who don’t like hummus like this spread/dip version.

  32. Can one eat too many fresh raw green beans? Or carrots? I liked your videos on too much tea and too many broccoli sprouts. I have a raw foodie friend who can eat a pound or two of raw organic veggies every day- usually mostly green beans and some carrots.

  33. With my basic pressure cooker, I haven’t met a bean yet that takes over 35 minutes to cook from bag to plate! In the long WI winters, I even get to keep the stove heat for the house.

  34. I disagree with Dr Greger — that’s a first for me! Beans are QUICK to cook from dried ( modern pressure cookers are small and fast!) ! Jill Nussinow’s book, “The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 minutes” is crammed full of information for anyone wanting to pressure cook dried peas, beans and lentils to perfection FAST, so those little rock-like beans, etc are soft and edible as FAST food. Also, putting a piece of Kombu (sea vegetable) in the cooking water with the beans increases their digestibility, etc. I have a 2.5 and a 6 quart Fissler pressure cooker (got as a set) and use them really often. Modern cookers have heavy bottoms to avoid scorching, and do not make noise or steam-up the kitchen, and can do many other things well too. Investing in a modern pressure cooker can be a huge enabler where beans are concerned, and uses much less energy and water to accomplish tender beans.

  35. Cooking beans is not difficult at all if you have a pressure cooker. Just soak them overnight and cook in the pressure cooker for 20 min and wait until it cools off a little and store in fridge. I cook the beans in this way maybe once a week, which is a piece of cake and my hubby use it for his protein shake, I add it to all kinds of soup and salad for a week. Also I try all variety of beans each time. You don’t have to worry about sodium or chemicals in canned beans.

  36. Buying canned beans may be convenient, but it’s virtually as convenient (and certainly cheaper) to buy them dry, and soak them overnight before cooking. You can also avoid the added salt that’s usually in the canned ones.

  37. Dr. G, You don’t mention anything about aluminum in this video. According to Heather Crosby: “Why no canned beans? I know it’s easier to use canned beans, but easier isn’t healthier. Aluminum, even in small amounts, can be very toxic. It’s linked to diseases like Alzhiemer’s and Osteoporosis and ailments like chronic fatique. It makes it’s way into everything from drinking water to baking soda, so it’s best to control what you can by avoiding it when you can. Cookware, toothpaste, antacids, vaccines, infant formula, cigarette filters, medications, antiperspirants, dental amalgams, bleached flour, grated cheeses, table salt, beer and most processed foods also contain aluminum. The best way to ensure that your food is clean is to make the time to prepare it yourself.” Is she correct? From

    1. nk: I don’t have an answer for you, but I thought I would share that I have the same question. I personally doubt there have been many studies on this question. Common sense tells me that of course there is a decrease in nutrition. My question is, how much loss is there?

      My thoughts: I’m interested in this topic because I am starting to think about emergency preparedness for really big disasters. “They” used to tell us that having 3 days of food and water around would be sufficient. But now they are saying that it could be 3 weeks or more before help arrives in the case of a (expected in my area) major natural disaster. I have 3 days worth of food around all the time anyway. So, that’s not an issue. But 3 weeks? For that I need to purchase some emergency food to have on hand. As a vegan, that means looking at products like the one that you linked to. But would I be better off trying to store normal dried beans from the bulk bin? Or is this product worth the money?

      My first thought was, since it is emergency food, who cares if it is less nutritious? It has calories and (in my opinion) probably more nutrition than omnivore emergency food and it will get me by. And while that is generally the thought that is still uppermost in my head, I also wonder about the nutrition since we are no longer talking days, but *weeks*. So, nutrition issues might come into play…?

      FYI: I already purchased the following “rocket stove” from StoveTec to make sure I will have a way to cook the beans and other food even if there is no electricity:

      Just sharing with you.

  38. Certain companies do not use BPA. You can google BPA free canned beans. I use Westerbrea (sp?). You can order on line if not in stores near you. Also, just because BPA free doesn’t mean organic or in the future GMO free. I always rinse my canned beans when using them to remove some of the regular salt that is used. Yes, I know we all need salt, but I get mine in other ways. Using dry beans would be better, yet, I find my time is full and cooking beans one added “thing”. Recycling in San Francisco is easy. Happy tooting!

  39. To retain as much dark color in my favorite Black Beans as possible, I soak them for only 4 to 5 hours, then rinse twice. Then I pressure cook them for exactly 4 minutes. I let them dry on paper towels for a couple of hours. The resulting beans are perfectly cooked, not hard, they hold their shape, and they’re still black. They’re wonderful. We love them, and my dogs love them too.
    Canned black beans (Westbrae) are a light chocolate color, so they’re less valuable for our health, and they’re so soft that they turn to mush very quickly. And then there’s the unwanted salt.
    I have to use bottled mountain spring water for soaking beans because our local water is full of minerals that prevent dry beans from taking up water.

    1. Great tip! I have a hard time getting black beans right as they often come up too mushy/falling apart when I pressure cook them. I’ll have to give your technique a shot.

      1. You’ll have to use trial and error, since the time it takes to reach 15lbs pressure depends on how many beans and how much water you’re using. If it takes even a few seconds of extra time to come to a boil, the beans will fade. I use one pound of beans, soaked, drained, then about 1.5 quarts of water in the pressure cooker. Good luck!

    2. Hi Vegeater,

      I have been using the InstantPot electric pressure cooker. Without soaking the beans cook for 15 minites. Does soaking really reduce flatulance, as I hear mixed opinions on that. My other concern is the starchy taste these beans have when eating them without without rinsing (after cooking). Some say to save the broth, but it too is too starchy.

      Okay to summarize: I definitely wish to continue using the Instantpot pressure cooker to cook my beans. What is the best way to preserve nutrition (I rinse after cooking to reduce the starch just as I rinse pasta after cooking pasta in a pot to reduce starch). It tastes much better without the starchy flavor. However, I do want to get the maximum nutritional benefit, without the starchy taste, and it would be nice to have less flatulence. I’ve read the flatulence gets less as when you eat beans regularly. We do regularly eat beans and unfortunately the flatulence is an annoying by product. Looking for recommendations, Thanks!

  40. U.S. Cans are lined with BPA. BPA leaches into the beans when the canned beans are manufactured. CU (I think it was CU) measured distinct BPA levels in people who were eating food from cans. BPA is banned from baby bottles. We get dried beans and cook them.

    Second point as from “Guest” below, canned beans I’ve seen are loaded with salt. We don’t use any added salt, and blood test shows my sodium levels are just fine without any shaker salt, or sea salt, or processed food salt. (bread is tough, Ezekial has some with lower salt, Trader Joe’s has tortilla chips with no added salt.). My and my wife’s blood pressure are sensitive to salt. Yes, takes cooking ahead example cooking extra and carefully storing in the fridge. What cost is that for health?

    Oh, yes, we do plant foods veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, B12, D3, some kelp for iodine. Scratching our heads on algae Omega 3 vs. Fish, Adventist Health study showing better mortality among vegetarians who also at fish. (how much fish?)

  41. Uncooked beans are cheap and store for long periods of time. Soaking the beans overnight before cooking them seems to significantly reduce any flatulence effect, and cooking them is easy and mindless. I don’t know why anyone would buy canned beans (except in an emergency), get inferior tasting beans (usually) and then have a can to throw away. Think what it takes to make a can (starting with the mining process) and then what happens to the can when you throw it away (lands in a dump or needs processing to recycle).

  42. Hi Dr. Greger, A study done in New Zealand by Professor Julian Heyes of Massey University ( ) which was reported on Radio NZ (our PBS) in June 2013, discovered that vitamins C and some of the B complex vitamins can be reduced by up to 75% as a result of the canning process, where as vitamins A and E survive pretty much in tact. I’ve added the link here in case you were interested to listen to the full article (only 8 minutes) ( ). I was wondering if any other studies had been done to corroborate the findings and if so, do you think it useful to update the video with the information? BTW, Thank you for your wealth of knowledge on nutrition…and your wit :)

    1. I couldn’t find a direct source to answer your question (will keep looking), but Dr. G mentions it in this blog: Rinsing beans where he says some of the nutrients (he doesn’t say which ones) are lost, but it is still worth rinsing to get rid of some of the sodium.

  43. I just bought the book whole 30, and in their first couple of pages they talk about NOT eating beans…

    Anybody have some words of wisdom on why they would say that? Maybe they will explain more as I read on, but just confusing. Thanks

  44. Question: It seems that pressure cooking is a faster way to cook beans at home, and recommended by Chef AJ, but I am extremely concerned that hyper temperatures reached using one would destroy the beans’ nutrient value. Dr. Andrew Weil just said in his online-newsletter that the high temperatures used commercially to cook canned beans enhance their nutrient value or the antioxidants they contain, but he cited no study nor proof for that opinion. I love that Dr. Greger always cites well-designed studies. Has there been research on this important point yet that he or anyone reading this knows of?

  45. Doctor what about aluminium cans leaching aluminium into the product, what about the cans with BPA internal lining? Are they leaching BPA? I never used canned beans because into the liquid generally there are also preservatives and strange named chemical products. I guess also not all canned beans are of the same quality… If we can choose which beans do you reccomand? I generally sock dry beans for 24 hours and after cook them on a pressure pot and freez them in portions. I do not trust canned products.

    1. Hi there Nicole!

      It can depend on how the refried beans are made. Refried beans are often made using bacon fat. A 100% plant-based option will have the extreme health benefits of beans without the detrimental cholesterol and saturated fat found in bacon fat.

      To health!

    1. Matcha, the bioavailability and absorption of nutrients depends on many different factors. First, it depends which nutrient you are talking about. Generally, minerals are not affected by heat, so cooking or canned storage should not affect them. Many vitamins, on the other hand, can be affected by cooking, although you might have levels decrease, but not disappear altogether. That is one reason why’s it’s recommended to use minimal water to steam and to quick coolly to retain as many of the water-soluble or heat-damaged nutrients as possible. Frozen veggies and fruit are said to be high in nutrients because they are picked at the optimum ripeness and then frozen right then. The longer a food is hanging around, the greater the potential loss of some vitamins. While it’s important to keep these things in mind, the most important thing to do is eat your greens (and other plant foods) at all. The more you eat, the less you have to worry about getting and saving every last mg or microgram of a nutrient in a food. For example, on a whole food, plant-based diet you could be getting 500% or even 2000% of certain vitamins, for example. (Compare that to someone on a Standard American Diet who might not even be getting 100% of the recommended daily intake.) But when you’re juiced up with plenty of nutrients, if you overcook some broccoli, or choose canned over frozen, it’s probably not that big of a deal because, assuming you are eating enough calories and eating all or mostly whole plant foods, you’re covered. – nutrition professor and volunteer moderator, ‪ Martica Heaner, PhD‬‬‬‬‬

    2. Most studies on frozen foods show that they have very comparable nutrient profiles to fresh. Sometimes they are better than fresh if the produce has travelled a long distance to the market – such as from South America to northern climates during the winter. Canned nutrient profiles are usually less and one has to investigate what the liquid they are canned in contains. For fruits, some are canned in water but others are in heavy syrup which is just sugar water. If you cannot obtain locally sourced fresh produce then flash frozen is probably your best option.

  46. What about the preservatives found in canned beans? I personally adore beans/legumes of all kinds and everything related to them. I could have beans every day so a lot of times I have to buy tinned beans due to their time consuming preparation. I always go for no salt options since I don’t even like sodium in food that much. But, what about the preservatives?

      1. Hello.
        Thank your for your reply.
        If you check the ingredient list of various canned beans/legumes you will notice in some of them that except salt (if any) there might be other ‘preservatives, bulking agents, firming agents, antioxidants’ etc such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C used as preservative which is safe in general). Other brands use different additives such as sulphide (which I don’t think is safe to consume). My question is about whether all these additives are safe to consume?

        1. leoleo: Interesting. The Eden brand I mentioned above does not have those ingredients. For example, here is the ingredient list for Eden’s black beans: “Organic Black Turtle Beans, Water, Kombu Seaweed”
          I thought NutritionFacts had covered ascorbic acid, but I can’t find such a video. As for the other ingredients, they don’t sound good in general, but without specifics, I could not say. Even if I knew the names, there is a good chance that NutritionFacts does not cover it. But if you want to post the specific ingredients, I could ask our medical moderators about it.
          If you can get a hold of the Eden brand, that might be the best solution. You could have your canned beans and not have to worry about those questionable ingredients.

  47. Beans and other legumes are OK tastewise, but I love peanuts and peanut butter. Since peanuts are really a legume and not a nut, shouldn’t I be able to count peanuts toward the 3 servings/day suggested by Dr. Greger in his daily dozen?

  48. Does/should Dr. Greger recommend soy, chickpea and other bean/legume based pasta as a good way to consume beans or does the processing negate the benefits? If beneficial, would the serving size in Dr. Greger’s daily dozen be 1/2 cup per serving, as it is for whole grain pasta and whole grains?

  49. Hi

    I am following the daily dozen and somethings are given servings or says at least that many.

    My question is beans is it ok to have more than 3 servings if you are hungry?

  50. We all know that home made food is better for nutrition, health and environment than processed and packaged food. Cooking beans is easier and soaking overnight will not only significantly reduce cooking time and fuel but some anti- nutrients as well.

  51. Dry beans don’t take “hours” to cook. I soak mine in the morning before going to work, and they’re ready to cook when I get home — 30 minutes on a simmer at most. I prep enough for multiple meals and store the cooked beans in fridge. Don’t waste 20 cents on canned — I waste more time tracking down no-salt added cans than I do cooking dry beans!!

  52. I have a question about the number of servings in Dr. Greger’s book “How not to die”.
    For example: beans, 3 servings a day. One serving of beans is about 130-150 grams, times 3..? That’s a lot of beans!
    I eat beans almost daily, but only about 100 grams.
    I’m not sure that I could bite my way through so many beans…
    I’m Dutch and have the English version of the book, so I might have misunderstood.

    1. Lisa: I can’t comment on your math, but I can say that Dr. Greger’s serving recommendations as well as serving sizes is based on a 2000 calorie diet. So, if you eat less calories over the day, you would want to scale back by a percentage the size of each serving for categories like the beans. My 2 cents is that this is not an exact science. My suggestion (though I am not an expert, so take it for what you want) is to use the Daily Dozen as a general guide on types of foods and relative portions to consume–and not get too hung up on details regarding amounts.

  53. According to the “food combining theory”, beans n nuts should not be eaten together with grains or starchy vegetables (carrots, potato, beets) due to a conflict of the enzymes digesting those different type of foods. What do you guys think? any idea?

    1. Cendra,

      you can combine them without a problem. Conflict of the enzyme is not possible. Whenever you eat (it could be anything), body secretes all of our enzymes, so even if you eat pure starch, you will have protein-digesting enzymes in your gut.

      Hope this helps,

      Adam P.

  54. ~ Are the lectins destroyed after 10 min of boiling, and therefore non-existent/100% deactivated? Or are some of them still swimming around in the water?

    I am looking for the best cooking method for legumes over all. But let’s take dried yellow peas as an example:
    – Soaking for 24h+ [~ the longer the better right?]
    – Boiling for 10 min to remove/extract lectins into the water?
    – Replace the “lectin-water” with fresh water, [even rinsing the legumes themselves at this stage?]
    – Boil/simmer for another 50 min

    ~ Is it unnecessary to replace the water because of lectins?
    ~ Does replacing or even removing the water(not eating it) remove a lot of good stuff?
    ~ Where is the lectins located, in the hull/shell or the seed itself?
    ~ Should the hull/shell of the peas be removed as it causes gases? or are there good fibers and nutritions in those?

  55. Viktor,

    Not sure the >24 hours is necessary…..and you might consider using some baking soda in the water which may help with lectin removal. Also more frequent rinsing with clean water will potentially also decrease the lectin concentration.

    Yes it’s necessary to replace the water and a rinse is in order, prior to cooking, to minimize the lectins and yes there will be a minimal loss of other water soluble nutrients, but a good trade off overall.

    The lectins are typically located in the cotyledon and seed coat.

    If the hull/shell causes gas….ditch em… otherwise don’t ditch the fiber and some of the nutrients.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

    1. Thank you Alan, for your response.

      Before I have been using normal salt as a medium for nuts and seeds. And lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for legumes.

      So the baking soda/sodium bicarbonate is new thing to me.

      Doing a quick search on the web, I can see that different types of things that will grow(or to be soaked) do better with either something acidic, or basic(I guess this is to replicate their natural place to grow). Like Kidney beans, and beans with a similar shape do better with the Basic medium(sodium bicarbonate). And the others with an acidic medium(lemon ju..)

      ~ What are your thoughts on this?


  56. I was eating canned beans daily when my face broke out in an itchy rash on either side of my nose. Although I want tested, my allergist said I was allergic to the nickle in the can. I am now cooking my own beans and the rash is gone.

  57. I avoid buying canned chickpeas and green peas because of the BPA content and other possible chemicals. Some time ago I switched to tetra paks but I don’t know if they are a safer option because even though they are supposed to be BPS and BPA free, for what I’ve seen these paperboard cartons do have plastic and aluminum coatings. Do they leach into the food? Cooking chickpeas is not an option for me, I’ve tried a few times and they take hours and never got good results, they were still pretty hard to chew after 2 hours in the pot. Does anyone know if there’s any study about tetrapak safety around? Thank you!

  58. Cooking from scratch always better, BUT it’s always good to have a set of Eden brand canned beans in the house (can be ordered online). That highly respected brand has BPA-free cans, uses the sea vegetable Kombu in their beans (which helps digest them), and adds no additional sodium (so only about 15mg sodium per can). I buy them by the case and chose a great variety. Some stores still carry Eden, but many are putting out their own salty, no-kombu brand in BPA cans so less expensive.

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