Baked beans have been one of the favorite foods by many American families. It’s normally prepared using kidney beans or navy beans with a portion of pork, bacon, salt and pepper, a teaspoonful of sugar, a can of tomato paste or tomato sauce and some added seasonings to taste. Canned baked beans are available in the market if you can’t make it yourself. It is ideal for picnics or even for ordinary mealtime time at home.
Are Baked Beans Healthy?
Yes, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, baked beans are healthy because it contains necessary nutrients that our body needs with fewer calories. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber that prevents constipation. It does help our muscles fire up because it contains potassium and iron.
Below are some more reasons why baked beans are healthy:
1. High in Protein
The necessary nutrients are needed by the muscle tissue to make it strong and healthy. And bean is just one example of foods that contain high amount of protein which is the building blocks of muscles. This protein helps our body stay strong and keeps the energy when your body doesn’t need it and release it when the body exerts more effort than usual. It also helps promote healthy nails and scalp.
2. Vitamin and Mineral Content
Baked or not, beans contain nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, potassium, Vit B6 and folic acid. Folic acid is recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Iron promotes new and healthy cell production to replace the old cells. B6 and manganese, on the other hand helps the body metabolize the food you eat. Manganese also helps cell function well and normalizes bone formation. It also stimulates heart to function properly as it lowers cholesterol level.
Antioxidants are necessary to fight free radicals produced by the body itself and through the foods you eat. By eating beans, you can avoid the risks of having infections and even cancer-causing diseases. It also slows down the ageing process of cells that helps you look younger. USDA attested that beans are high in antioxidants. Baked beans are made using pinto, kidney and haricot. They are all good sources of antioxidants but the small red beans have the highest amount.
Things You Should Know About Baked Beans
Are baked beans healthy? Yes, in a sense. But the thing is that although baked beans can be good for health, there’re things that you should pay attention to.
Baked Beans and Gas
Soluble fiber is just one of the many nutritional benefits you can take advantage from baked beans. Although this source of fiber is actually the cause of gas, it doesn’t pose health risk at all. The gas formation is due to gut flora. This gut flora or gut bacteria breaks down the soluble fiber and produces a byproduct in the form of hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide which cause the flatulence. This, as a matter of fact, can essentially improve gut condition as it maintains a healthy digested tract.
Baked Beans and Salt
Many studies and research in the past 35 years have strongly connected a high salt consumption to a greater risk of high blood pressure that can cause strokes to anyone. For this reason, baked beans companies improved their products by producing low salt baked beans to keep up with the market demand. This healthier version of baked beans contains 1100mg of sodium (Na) per 150g which is just about 50% of our daily allowance.
Baked Beans and Sugar
With the ever increasing competition among baked beans companies, canned baked beans come with high amount of sugar. Based on the report of WHO, ideally, for health purposes, we should only consume below 25g of sugar/day. However, the average serving of baked beans (150g) has 15g of sugar, which is a relatively high amount.
So, are baked beans healthy? If you can do it yourself, yes, baked beans are healthy. But if you go for canned baked beans, be sure to consume in moderate amount.
A Healthy Baked Beans Recipe to Try
- 300g (2 cups) small navy beans (soaked in water overnight)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 bay leaves
- 75g light molasses
- 1 1/2 tbsp. of dry mustard
- 1 medium size white onion (chopped in small pieces)
- 2 -3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch
- 1 cup tomato paste
- Combine beans, water, leaves and 1/2 tsp salt in an ovenproof pot with lid using high heat.
- Bring to boil and reduce the heat as it boils.
- Put the lid partially and simmer for about 65-75 minutes until the beans are tender.
- Remove from the heat.
- Discard the bay leaf.
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Place remaining ingredients: onion, molasses, mustard, tomato sauce and bacon and ¼ tsp salt in the pot.
- Put the lid back on and make sure it’s tightly covered.
- Bake in the oven for 3-4 hours until beans are soft.
- Check every hour to make sure the beans don’t dry, stir and add more water as needed.