Yet another reason to love black beans


In Chinese medicine, the Qi, or energy, of the Kidney system is vital to reproduction, and fertility enhancement often begins with the Kidneys. For this reason, it is essential to eat foods that nourish the Kidneys and promote fertility.

Black Beans are an excellent food to eat if you are trying to conceive. Warming in nature, they are thought to tonify the Kidney Qi and nourish Yin and Blood. Not only that, black beans are an excellent source of protein, folate, iron and fiber—all key nutrients.

They are also loaded with antioxidants. According to research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, black beans are rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, the same compounds found in grapes, cranberries and other fruits. In fact, researchers founds that the level of antioxidants found in black beans is approximately ten times the amount in an equivalent amount of oranges and comparable to that found in an equivalent amount of grapes or cranberries.

The darker a bean’s seed coat, the higher its level of antioxidant activity. Of all the various types of beans analyzed, black beans were found to have the highest activity, followed by red, brown, yellow and white beans.

Soups and stews are great ways to incorporate black beans into your diet. You can also try this recipe for Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos:

Ingredients:

* 5 cups peeled cubed sweet potatoes
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons canola or other vegetable oil
* 3-1/2 cups diced onions
* 4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
* 1 Tablespoon minced fresh green chile
* 4 teaspoons ground cumin
* 4 teaspoons ground coriander
* 4-1/2 cups cooked black beans (three 15-ounce cans, drained)
* 2/3 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
* 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 8 eight-inch flour tortillas
* Fresh tomato salsa or jarred

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with the salt and water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, warm the oil in a medium skillet or saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and chiles. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the black beans, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and cooked sweet potatoes and puree until smooth. (You can also mash the ingredients in a large bowl by hand using a potato masher. The result will be a less smooth but nicely textured filling.) Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large mixing bowl and mix in the cooked onions and spices.

Lightly oil a large baking dish. Spoon about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the filling in the center of each tortilla, roll it up, and place it, seam side down, in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until piping hot. Serve topped with salsa.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Recipe Source: Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites (Clarkson Potter Publishers)

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