July is National Baked Beans Month, the perfect time to enjoy one of America’s favorite side dishes.
Many Americans will celebrate summer with a side of baked beans. In fact, in 2009, Americans consumed 50 million pounds of baked beans during the month of July. That’s enough to build a trail of bean cans longer than Historic Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago.
“Baked beans are a favorite when the weather is cold,” the executive director of the United States Dry Bean Council (USDBC). “But, they are very popular for the summer grilling season, too.”
“Not only are beans delicious in recipes like baked beans, but they are high in protein, virtually fat free and contain more fiber than many whole grain foods!”
Beans received an FDA dietary guidance message in 2004 stating that “diets including beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.” Dietary guidance messages were part of an effort by the FDA’s Consumer Health Information for Better Nutrition Initiative (CHIBNI) to encourage good nutrition among consumers.
“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are highly favorable toward beans,” said Mindy Hermann, MBA, RD, a nutrition writer and book author. “Beans are called out as an important part of a healthy diet and featured as excellent sources of protein, fiber, potassium and folate.” Ms. Hermann added that white beans are also mentioned specifically as a good source of iron.
Beans, such as kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and black beans, are naturally low in total fat, contain no saturated fat or cholesterol, and provide important nutrients such as fiber, protein, calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium. Beans health benefits are consistent with many existing FDA-approved health claims, specifically those related to heart disease and cancer. In addition to health benefits related to heart disease and cancer, studies also suggest eating beans as part of a healthy diet may help to manage diabetes and help cut the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.