Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?

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

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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.

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