Beans useful properties, composition and contraindications (+ 20 photos), Calories, benefits and harms, Useful properties

Few people take beans as a medicine. For most,
this is just a tasty legume, a rich source of
protein that is well absorbed by the body. But scientific research shows that a bean
diet can be very effective in fighting diabetes and cardiovascular
disease. It can also be a good cancer prevention tool.
However, like most drugs, if the rules of use are violated,
beans can be harmful, causing both short-term and long-term

Useful properties of beans

Composition and calorie content

Crude bean contains (per 100 g) .

Calories 343 Kcal

Vitamin C 4,6 Potassium, K 1316 Vitamin
B3 2,083 Phosphorus,
P 304 Vitamin
Магний, Mg
Кальций, Ca
B2 0,221 Sodium,
At 18

Dry beans (that is, fully ripe and dried seeds of
Phaseolus vulgaris) are a rich source of proteins, starch,
some unsaturated fatty acids, dietary
fiber, vitamins and minerals. On the Harvard Medical
School website , the glycemic index table for beans is
24 4 ± . What allow to
classify beans as low glycemic index foods.

The nutritional properties of beans largely depend on the amount of
protein in them and, to a lesser extent, on the content of carbohydrates, vitamins
and minerals. Depending on the variety, the protein in beans can be
from 15% to 35%. On average, one hundred grams of dry bean seeds provide a
person with 20-25 grams of protein, that is, they give about 20% of the recommended
daily intake. In terms of the amount of protein, beans are quite
comparable to meat.
In addition, the protein digestibility of dry beans is almost
80%. The main protein
fractions of beans are globulin (50–70%) and albumin (10%). Among the
amino acids
present in dry beans, lysine predominates (6.5-7.5 g / 100
g protein) and tyrosine with phenylalanine (5.0-8.0 g / 100 g protein).

Starch accounts for almost 50% of the seed weight.
Oligosaccharides and dietary fiber were found in large quantities in beans
(14–19 g / 100 g of raw grain).
More than 50% of the fibers are insoluble and consist of pectins, pentosans,
hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin. The lipid fraction of the beans is
about 1.5–6.5 g per 100 g of raw beans and is mainly
and polyunsaturated
fatty acid.

Like other edible legumes, beans are high in
essential amino acids, including lysine,
which is lacking in most grains. In addition, bean
seeds have the highest vitamin and mineral content compared
to other legumes.

In general, numerous bioactive
compounds have been found in the fruits of the plant – galactooligosaccharides, protease inhibitors, lectins,
phytates, oxalates and phenol-rich substances, which play an important
metabolic role in humans and animals. The mass of phenolic compounds
is about 10-11% of the total mass of seeds. Moreover, in terms of
their chemical structure, they represent a very diverse
group. In addition, they tend to differ according
to the color of the seed skin and the variety of beans.

For example, because the skin color of seeds is dependent on the presence of polyphenols,
dark-colored beans (red, black) usually have the highest
anthocyanin content.
Light yellow
and pink spots on the seed coat, however, indicate the presence of tannins.
Research has shown
that cooking common beans at high temperatures does not change
the phenolic acid content.

Some of the compounds listed above have antioxidant
and prebiotic activity and protect DNA damage from various
types of cancer. However, these same compounds can reduce
protein digestibility , reduce nutrient absorption and
mineral bioavailability , causing flatulence.
Thus, in some cases, beans can cure, and in others
, harm.

Types of beans

Medicinal properties

Most of the medicinal properties of beans are associated with the presence
of polyphenols in the seeds of this culture, which have antioxidant properties
and various biological activities, including antidiabetic,
anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitumor, hepatoprotective,
cardioprotective, nephroprotective, neuroprotective and osteoprotective.

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Regular consumption of beans, which contain total and soluble
fiber and resistant starches, lowers the glycemic
index in humans. Studies have shown that bean diets
reduced “bad” cholesterol levels, increased “good” cholesterol and positively
influenced risk factors for metabolic syndrome, thereby reducing the
likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

A study of the eating habits of
older Japanese, Swedes, Greeks and Australians (over 70 years of age) showed that beans are one
of the few foods that are associated with a systemic
reduction in mortality risk. The
health-promoting effects have been observed to be directly proportional to the increase in the amount of
beans eaten . More specifically, an 8% decrease in the mortality risk ratio occurred
with an increase in daily consumption of beans for every 20 grams
(with and without ethnicity).

The consumption of dried beans is largely responsible for
many physiological and health-promoting effects,
including the prevention of cardiovascular disease, obesity,
diabetes and cancer.

Bean harvest

Antidiabetic activity

Clinical studies show that consuming three or more
servings of beans per week reduces the risk of diabetes by up
to 35% compared to eating fewer or
no beans .

Epidemiological studies in China suggest
that regular inclusion of beans in the diet proportionally
reduces the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes in women.
In another study, the authors, based on a study of patients with diabetes,
noted that regular consumption of black beans for three
months lowers plasma glucose
and glycosylated hemoglobin levels. It is assumed that the
improvement in the condition of patients was due to the presence of
phenolic substances, tannins and anthocyanins in black beans.

Animal experiments have also demonstrated the ability of
phenolic compounds in beans to lower blood glucose, glycosylated
hemoglobin, and elevated insulin levels. For example, it was shown
that long-term oral administration of an aqueous extract of
bean pods to rats at a dose of 200 mg / kg led to a decrease
in blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels against the background of chronic

Black beans

Cardioprotective action

Eating beans regularly is beneficial for both healthy
and obese people. The therapeutic effect in this case occurs
due to a decrease in the level of total cholesterol and low
density lipoproteins in serum, as well as due to an increase in the level of
high density lipoproteins.

Epidemiological and clinical evidence suggests that increasing the
amount of beans eaten (at least 4 times a week) reduces the
risk of cardiovascular and coronary diseases. In particular, it
is noted that 22% snizhet the risk of coronary
heart disease, and 38% – the risk of heart attack
myocardium . and 11%
– the risk of cardiovascular disease in general.

The percentage of change in various physiological parameters in each
new study is different, but the treatment effects are noted by
all study groups. For example, a decrease in
low-density lipoprotein levels has been reported with the use of:

  • cup of baked beans for 8 weeks – 5% .
  • baked beans men with hypercholesterolemia – 15% .
  • 275 g of dark blue beans for three weeks – up to 24%, etc.

Moreover, in healthy people, the level of “bad cholesterol” in serum was
also significantly reduced, which ensured a decrease in the likelihood of
cardiovascular diseases by 20%. To do this, it was
enough to include in the menu 130 grams of boiled pinto beans
four times a week.

Antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic action

Several studies have shown that a diet rich in beans
is a good prevention of various types of cancer, including colon
, breast and prostate cancer. [22, 23, 24] This is evidenced by the results of a
large scientific project carried out in 41 countries. The percentage
may vary, but for illustration purposes
, the following indicators can be cited: Eating beans two or more
times a week reduces the risk of colon cancer by 47% . , prostate
cancer by 22% and breast cancer by 67%.

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The results of adjusting the diet of laboratory animals indicate
that the incidence of all tumors in rats treated with black beans
decreased by 54%, and the incidence of glandular stomach cancer
– by 75%. For rats fed the same purple
bean regimen , the values ​​were slightly different: 59% reduction in overall
tumor incidence and 44% reduction in the risk of adenocarcinoma (44%).

Beans have anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties
due to their phenolic compounds interacting with mutagens
and inhibiting the metabolism of the main mutagen.

Bean flowering

Antioxidant activity

Beans are characterized by high antioxidant activity due to
phenolic acids, flavonoids, stilbenes and tannins.
First of all, this activity is due to the reducing
ability of polyphenols, since they play an important role in neutralizing
free radicals, trapping them or suppressing lipid
peroxidation. In addition, polyphenols involve chelation
of metal ions, interrupting oxidative processes.

Typically, antioxidant activity is increased during digestion
and absorption of beans in the gastrointestinal tract. Phenolic compounds are better released
in the stomach due to its acidic environment. Also acidic environment and enzyme-mediated
hydrolysis contribute to the higher solubility of polyphenols
along with starch and proteins.

Anti-inflammatory activity

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of beans is manifested
by phenolic compounds (phenolic acids, flavonoids
and anthocyanins) and indigestible fermentable components (precursors of
short-chain fatty acids).

In animal experiments, mice on a bean diet
showed significant reductions in symptoms of colitis
and colon inflammation. Indicators indicating
inflammation also decreased . The immunomodulatory effects of introducing
20% dark beans into the diet of mice for two weeks showed significant reductions in
colonic mucosal damage and inflammation.

Randomized controlled trials in humans have
also shown therapeutic effects with just 3 days of
100 g of black bean flour and soup. Thanks to such a diet, the
condition of patients with arthritis improved
– pain and inflammation were significantly reduced.

With all this, it is too early to declare beans a super drug, since
along with the healing effects, the same component of beans can
aggravate a number of symptoms. Therefore, scientists do not get tired of
specifying that
additional study of the product is necessary for any final statements . A serious and multifaceted study of the
medicinal properties of beans, in fact, is just beginning.

Harvesting green beans

In medicine

Despite the fact that medications based on bean extracts are
not yet used in treatment protocols,
various herbal preparations are widely available on the market , which include bean components.
Such complex preparations are most often recommended by the manufacturer
as independent or auxiliary agents in the treatment of type
2 diabetes .

For example, the composition of the herbal collection “Arfazetin”, along with
blueberry shoots,
rose hips
and various herbs, includes 20% of the shells of common beans,
which are taken in the form of an infusion.

Various reference manuals (for example, “Botanical-Pharmacognostic
Dictionary” . ) Indicate
the possibility of using beans as a rich source of potassium
in dietary nutrition for cardiac arrhythmias and atherosclerosis.

In folk medicine

In modern folk medicine, bean leaflets are used to
treat diseases of the genitourinary system, in violation of salt metabolism
and rheumatism.
In this case, the diuretic effect of the
plant is used directly or indirectly . To increase the volume of urine excreted, it is necessary to drink
half a liter of the mood per day, which is prepared for 3-4 hours,
pouring 10 g of bean pods with water. The same infusion is used
to reduce pressure.

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Hot infusions of bean leaves or decoctions of flowers are drunk for the treatment of
gallstones and urolithiasis
. And with a decoction of a combination of beans and blueberry leaves, they relieve
inflammation of the pancreas and improve the general condition of a patient
with diabetes mellitus.

In the Balkans, in folk medicine, it is customary to use decoctions of
beans to eliminate the symptoms of dysentery and normalize the stool.
In the same place, with the help of bean decoctions for ingestion and external
lotions, pain was relieved with inflammation of the sciatic nerve and with gout.

In the folk traditions of the Eastern Slavs, it is customary to treat skin
diseases and injuries with beans . For example, toasted and ground into
flour seeds are mixed with cream to apply to burnt
skin. To remove the dried-up healing cover, it is softened
with oil after 2 days .

A mixture of bean flour with honey is applied to the skin for erysipelas
. And with pure flour cakes made from beans, wounds
and abscesses are covered .

Red and white beans

In oriental medicine

In the Arab East in antiquity, there was a division into red
and white beans. The first was considered hot and humid in the second degree.
The second was defined as being balanced with respect to cold and heat.

Bean flour was used to get rid of age spots and scars.
When eaten, beans drove fluids (urine, milk, semen),
made the body plump. Bean broths were used by healers to “expel” the
fetus from the womb of a woman in labor, to strengthen the uterus. That said,
nightmares and restless sleep were a side effect of eating beans.

Chinese medicine also distinguishes between red and white beans.

  • Red beans. It is able to remove dampness,
    remove edema,
    eliminate fever, restore digestion in case of disorders
    and diarrhea. It is also used for painful urination.
    External use is practiced for fungal skin lesions, the
    appearance of numerous boils.
  • White beans. With pathogenic cold in the stomach,
    it stops nausea and vomiting. It is able to stimulate the lowering of
    turbid energy, moisturize the intestines, and replenish the kidneys.

In traditional Chinese medicine, beans are often called a
product of the elements of water and buds (also due to the external
similarity of the organ and seeds of the plant). Bean powder was a
part of medicines for strengthening the yin of the kidneys. For the
same purposes, a decoction or infusion of bean pods was used. In
addition, green tea has been used to improve vision and restore
eye health. To properly brew such a “tea”, the pods must be
crushed into powder, then pour one pinch of the powder with a glass of
water and hold for 5 minutes over low heat.

Small White Kidney Beans

In scientific research

Some biological characteristics of beans can be pronounced
in some plant species (varieties) and less pronounced in others. Since
researchers, as a rule, work with one specific
sample, the resulting data on properties are attributed to the
studied species (variety). We have
provided examples of such studies below.

  • Navy beans, or “Navy” beans.
    These small oval white beans were introduced to the diets of
    the US Navy in the 19th century, which explains their name. The effect of
    “sea” beans was studied in experimental mice, which were given
    bean flour dissolved in water (20% in the diet) for
    two weeks. A diet containing these beans had both positive
    and negative effects during experimental colitis,
    reducing inflammatory biomarkers locally and systemically, while
    exacerbating damage to the colon mucosa.
  • Roman beans, or Red beans. Its seeds are creamy
    , medium in size and oval in shape, rich in phenolic
    compounds and indigestible fermentable compounds
    that can help relieve experimental colitis and reduce the
    severity of other pathologies associated with intestinal dysfunction.
    During the experiment
    on mice, improvement in a number of parameters was observed not only
    in mice with colitis, but also in healthy mice from the control group.
    In the colitis group, 20% bean meal supplementation in the diet reduced the
    severity of the disease and histological damage to the colon,
    increased the expression of genes promoting the barrier function, and
    decreased inflammatory cytokines of the colon.
  • Pinto beans. They are medium-
    sized, brown-skinned, oval-shaped beans . Hemagglutinins,
    defensins, isolated from this bean, have antifungal,
    antidiabetic, and antitumor activities.
    Scientists came to such conclusions after experiments “in vitro” (
    including on models of intestines).
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However, experimental and sociological evidence has shown that
patients with diabetes and people with impaired copper homeostasis may be
at increased risk of molybdenum
bean poisoning . The self-completed meal frequency questionnaire
found that in central Mexico, diabetic patients with
severe complications tended to consume certain types of
beans more frequently than those with less advanced diseases. And
Pinto’s pinto beans were not the safest in this regard. Researchers have
even suggested eliminating broths with these beans for diabetic patients
from their diets.

Sprouted beans

For losing weight

There are a number of studies on beans and bean extracts that describe
different mechanisms of influence on conditions or processes associated
with obesity and obesity.

Eating a baked snack, 70% corn
and 30% beans, reduced serum cholesterol
, triglyceride, and blood glucose levels in mice on a high
-fat diet. In addition, this dietary supplement has been shown to
reduce lipid accumulation. The end results showed that
consumption of cornbreads reduced weight gain,
fat accumulation, adipocyte (fat cell) size and
prevented non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice by
inhibiting the nuclear proteins PPARγ and SREBF2.

In another study, already in humans, beans helped control
weight through satiety and appetite suppression. A blinded, placebo-controlled
study in twelve volunteers showed that a
new purified bean extract, when used as a supplement
to a mixed balanced diet (60% carbohydrates, 25% fat,
and 15% protein), provided appetite control and increased
satiety within 3 hours. after meals than in the placebo group.
Objective indicators confirmed the difference: the addition of
bean extract reduced the release of glucose, insulin and C-peptide after
meals, suppressed the secretion of the peptide hormone ghrelin.

A pilot study in 60 overweight volunteers
also demonstrated the efficacy of standardized dry
bean extract in reducing waist circumference and reducing obesity
. So the participants in the experiment received 50 g of the extract
twice a day for 12 weeks, which in the group of subjects led to:

  • decrease in body weight (from 82.8 ± 9.1 kg to 78.8 ± 8.9 kg; p <0.0001),
  • decrease in waist circumference (from 94.4 ± 10.3 cm to 88.2 ± 10.0
    cm; p <0.0001),
  • reduction of oxidative stress (from 380.4 ± 14.8 to 340.7 ± 14.8
    Carr units; p <0.0001).

Purple beans

However, despite these encouraging results, not all scientists
consider beans and their extracts to be a promising dietary supplement.
The British Journal of Nutrition, a peer-reviewed scientific journal
dedicated to animal and human nutrition research, has
published a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized
clinical trials related to the effectiveness of beans as
a weight loss supplement.

According to the authors, all analyzed studies had serious
methodological flaws. A meta-analysis found no statistically significant
difference in weight loss between the bean supplement
groups and the placebo groups. However, further meta-analysis found a statistically
significant reduction in body fat in favor of the bean
groups compared to the placebo groups. In the aggregate, the researchers were
unable to draw any firm conclusions about the effects of
bean supplementation on body weight. And they recognized that
larger and more rigorous trials are needed to objectively assess the effects of beans.

In cooking

Beans, like some other vegetables, are
not eaten raw . But here this is due not only to the low culinary and consumer
qualities of the product, but also to the fact that many varieties of
raw beans are toxic. Therefore, throughout the history of the cultivation of beans,
it was boiled, fried, stewed either separately or in combination with other
products. So, for example, in the east – first in China, and later
in Japan, India, Korea, boiled beans
with rice are still very popular .
But in general, beans are almost a universal food that
goes well with fish, meat, seafood,
cereals and almost all other vegetables.

Beans braised in a pan

Now beans (including vegetables and sugar) are
usually soaked in cold water for about 10-12 hours
in a ratio of 1: 5 (1 cup of beans to 5 cups of water) before cooking . When soaking
and boiling, dry beans will increase in size 2-3 times, so the
soaking pot should be of the appropriate size.

Some cooks suggest leaving the beans in water for a whole
day. This is done so that, firstly, the beans become softer
and, being saturated with moisture, cook faster, and, secondly, so that the
sugars that the human body
does not digest can dissolve in the water . It is also believed that soaking beans
leads to the loss of antinutrients that interfere with the absorption of nutrients

If there is no time to prepare the beans, you can use the “hot”
method of soaking. In this case, the beans are first boiled for about 3
minutes, and then in a closed saucepan they are kept in hot water
for at least 1-2 hours, and after that the “old” water is drained, the
swollen beans are washed in running water and proceed to the main
cooking stage.

For boiling, the beans in the pot must be completely covered with
water. The lid is usually not closed tightly, sometimes adding water
if it boils away. Most housewives add salt at the end of cooking so
that the beans do not turn out too hard, but there is no reliable
evidence that salt contributes to the excessive compaction of the fruits,
therefore, it and other spices can be added immediately or later.
But the acidic ingredients provided for by some recipes
(vinegar, citric acid, wine, etc.) to give tenderness are
really better to add after the beans are almost cooked.
In addition, in order to reduce foaming during the boiling process,
it is recommended to pour a spoonful of sunflower into it after boiling water.

Bean soup

When boiling in a saucepan over low heat, the beans cook for half an hour
to an hour and a half (depending on the variety). The readiness of the beans is checked by
pressing. Usually a few are simply crushed on a plate
with a fork or fingers. Finished beans are considered if they have become
sufficiently soft and do not crunch, but still do not fall apart
into porridge.

It should be noted that the cooking time for string (asparagus) beans is
much shorter. After immersion in already boiling salted water, the
pods are actively boiled for only about 5 minutes, after which they are immediately
transferred to a cold environment so that they retain their characteristic
crunch and color.

Green beans are called unripe green beans of the same kidney beans
. They are also very popular in the cooking of various European
and Asian countries. For example, in Belgian cuisine, they are often combined
with aromatic herbs, low-fat cream, or soy sauce. But
since such beans are just valued for retaining their natural
herbal color and bean flavor, they are boiled and fried relatively
not for long.

When stewing green beans, the boiling stage is usually skipped: the
pods are first fried until half cooked, and then stewed
in tomato or cream sauce over low heat for about 20 minutes.

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It is widely used in cooking and bean flour.
Various soups are prepared on its basis . However, such flour is often added
to dessert dishes: pies, strudels, muffins.

In cosmetology

People were able to consider the cosmetic potential of beans even in ancient
times. In ancient Rome, beans were ground into flour, which, as part of a
cosmetic product, served as a powder. The ability of bean
flour to whiten the skin later led to its inclusion in the formula for
ladies’ whitewash, which was reflected in one of the German names for
beans – Schminkbohne. This compound word can be translated as
“make-up, bleach or make-up beans.”

Bean flour for scrub

Today, ready-made prepackaged bean flour is easy to purchase
in online stores. In the field of cosmetology, manufacturers recommend
using it to improve intercellular metabolism, tighten skin,
eliminate circles under the eyes, bruises, and also for whitening.

In addition to flour, on the free market you can find small bottles of
bean protein hydrolyzate, which are also designed for effective
express lifting, moisturizing, restoring water-fat metabolism
and increasing skin turgor on the face, neck and décolleté. It is believed
that the strengthening of the walls of microvessels and the normalization of collagen occurs
due to the neutralization of enzymes that have a destructive effect on the structural
elements of the connective tissue.

Such a hydrolyzate is added in an amount of 2-4% in creams for problematic
teenage skin, 5-8% in sunscreen cosmetics, anti-cellulite
serums and lifting masks, 2-3% in restoring after
shave gels , 8-9% in products to strengthen nails and hair.

Protein bean hydrolyzate is a multifunctional product,
but it is afraid of heating over 40 ° C. And since the manufacture of home
cosmetics using extracts requires a certain skill,
simple and quick masks for the face
and on the basis of beans have become very popular , which perfectly cleanse and nourish the skin, have a
smoothing and lifting effect, relieve fatigue and itching, remove
bags under the eyes. In addition, beans have a whitening property
that helps to even out the skin’s color and surface.

The simplest yet most effective mask is prepared by mixing
softened mashed boiled beans (2 tablespoons) with olive
oil (1 tablespoon) and lemon
juice (½ tablespoon). This mask is applied to cleansed skin for
15-20 minutes, and then simply washed off with water. In cases where a
bean mask is used on dry skin, cream or butter is added to the recipe,
and when applied to oily skin, buckwheat flour is added as an absorbent
and a soft scrub.

We have collected the most important points about the benefits and possible dangers of beans
in this illustration and we will be very grateful if you share
a picture on social networks, with a link to our page:

Hulling beans can be very different from each other
in appearance. They are white, violet-black, yellow,
brown, marble, etc. in color. In shape, they are symmetrically oval, curved,
flat and “paunchy”. The beans of some varieties are on average smaller than the fruits of other
varieties, but for a number of dishes it is these relatively small beans that
are better suited. You can buy any – the main thing is that they are intact,
not wrinkled, and without traces of pest damage.

It is better to buy green beans packaged in airtight
containers. It is available in the assortment of almost all major
vegetable producers . In supermarkets, it is sold frozen. But
if you can find fresh green beans during the season, then preference
should be given to crispy and dense pods.

Beans keep well in the refrigerator, but in practice
there is almost never enough space for them, even in the vegetable section.
Therefore, at home, other methods of storing
split beans are more often used :

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Fresh green beans are either bought right before cooking
or frozen for future use. There is, however, another way to store
green beans – in the form of a “semi-finished product”. To do this, the ends of the
pods are cut off, the fibers of the flaps are removed, and then the workpiece is
dipped in boiling water for 4-5 minutes and dried at a temperature of 60-70
degrees in the oven for 4-5 hours. These almost ready-to-eat
dry pods should also be stored in a room with low humidity
and temperature.

Beans are one of the most ancient crops cultivated by man.
Different sources indicate different data, but at least 5 thousand
years ago, beans as a food product were already familiar to the inhabitants of Central
and South America. This region is considered the historical homeland of the plant.

The beans came to Europe relatively late – the Columbus expedition
brought them from the second trip to the shores of the New World. In his
all-encompassing work on the knowledge of the Aztecs in medicine and botany,
she was described by the Spanish missionary Bernardino de Sahagun. Beans in this
work is fully devoted to the third section of Chapter XIII “about all products.”
The author lists and sketches more than 10 types of beans that the
Aztecs ate. However, in Europe, the culinary example of the Aztecs
was not immediately followed and at first the beans were planted exclusively
as an ornamental plant.

When the Europeans tasted the beans, they quickly spread
across the continent. Beans came to Britain from the Netherlands, so
there they began to call them “Dutch beans”, the
culture was brought to Russia from France in the 17th-18th centuries, therefore the name of the beans
was appropriate – “French beans”.

In France itself, beans became especially popular during the reign of
Napoleon I. There is a historical legend according to which the emperor
considered beans a product capable of strengthening muscles and improving
brain function. Therefore, beans and entered the army soldier’s and officer’s

After such a story, it is even a little strange that the holiday Bean Day
is celebrated not in France, but in Bulgaria. In November, every last
Saturday, in the village of Smilyan, the festive ceremony opens with a loud
shot from a special “bean cannon”. After that, the
festival begins , which includes a competition of culinary specialists who
prepare a variety of intricate and rare
bean dishes in taverns . First of all – from the local “Smilian beans”, which are
even listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

But it is not only the Smilian beans that amaze with their peculiarities. For example, the
varieties “Akito” and “Ad Rem” are distinguished by a delicate mushroom aroma. Sort
“Flajole” smells like a semi-hard Dutch cheese Edammer
(Edam). And moon beans (aka “lima” by the name of the capital of
Peru) are associated with butter due to their taste.

The last of the listed – moon beans – has another
interesting feature: the plant is protected from insect larvae
by producing a strong-smelling substance that resembles
wasp pheromones . Feeling an attractive smell, the wasps flock to the beans and destroy the
caterpillars that have settled on the plant. By the way, the curly stem of this
type of bean is one of the longest in the genus and can reach 15 meters
in length. Given that, on average, the stalk of common beans is much
shorter – up to 3 meters.

Like other plants, beans probably have many more mysteries
and possibilities that people have not yet guessed about. Therefore, further
study of the plant and its fruits, probably in the near future,
will help people to fully use all of its medicinal and nutritional

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Anna Evans

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