When feckless Jack swapped the family cow for a handful of beans, he was onto something: Not only does a daily serving of lentils, mature peas, chickpeas or kidney beans help with weight management, the resistant starch they contain counteracts some (but not all) of the health hazards of eating red meat.
Chowing down 5 1/2 ounces of these high-fiber, high-protein, low-glycemic-index legumes daily can make you feel 31 percent fuller and reduce your calorie, fat and processed-food intake.
And while they're doing that, beans can cut your risk for heart disease (maybe that's why they call these legumes pulses!).
In addition, another study recently found that cancer-associated genetic molecules (miR-17-92) that get pumped up in your gut when you eat red meat return to normal levels if you eat a hearty serving of beans at the same time.
Seems the resistant starch in beans passes through your body undigested, but on the way through the large intestine your gut bacteria ferment it, so it produces short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, that help protect you from heart disease, cancer and gastrointestinal distress.
It's a lot smarter to dodge all the hazards of red meat - including heart disease, a lousy sex life and dementia - by avoiding it altogether, but if you do succumb to a burger, make sure you have a tasty serving of beans.
Try harissa on chickpeas, olive oil and basil on kidney beans, garlic and mint on lentils, or chopped scallions and cilantro on peas.
© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
© King Features Syndicate