Health-food

Are Black Beans The Healthiest Foods On The Planet?

Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are extremely healthy and jam packed full of vitamins and nutrients that can benefit your health. Whether you eat them fresh or from a can, the health benefits are the same.

So here are some fast facts about black beans:

  • They have a rich flavour sometimes compared to mushrooms.
  • One cup of black beans provides 15 grams of protein and none of the saturated fat found in red meat which means that they are an excellent choice for vegetarians or for those needing more protein in their diet.
  • Black beans contain no cholesterol.
  • When teamed with rice they provide all of the essential amino acids that your body needs.
  • Black beans have the highest level of antioxidant activity compared to all other types of beans.  Antioxidants can help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.
  • They are high in fibre – a cup of cooked beans contains 15 grams.
  • Black beans contain soluble and insoluble fibre.  The insoluble fibre aids digestion and prevents constipation while the soluble fibre helps lower cholesterol and blood-sugar levels.
  • One cup of black beans contains approximately 120 milligrams of magnesium which is commonly associated with cardiovascular protection.
  • One cup of black beans contains 256 micrograms of folate, making them an excellent food for pregnant women.
  • They are a great source of copper which is essential for healthy heart function and promoting healthy skin, hair and nails.

Sound great don’t they?  Try this healthy black bean salad to reap some of the benefits.

15 Minute Black Bean Salad

Ingredients

½ cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 cups of black beans

1 cup of corn kernels

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

½ cup red pepper, diced

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, coarsely chopped

¼ cup chopped coriander

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together and serve, it’s that simple!

Image via 3.bp.blogspot.com

6 Unhealthy Habits You Didn’t Know You Had

You’re conscious about your health so, of course, you try to avoid obvious bad habits, like pigging out on junk food and being a couch potato. But according to the health and wellness experts from A Season of Change – the free online 12-week body, self image and lifestyle event kicking off on September 1 – some of the habits we think are doing us the most good could actually be hindering us when it comes to achieving our health and wellness goals.

A panel of experts have teamed up to reveal six so-called “healthy habits” that may be leading us astray and share their top tips on how to right those habitual wrongs to get back to track to better health and increased happiness.

1. Reaching for ‘low-fat’ foods: Opting for foods that are labelled low-fat or fat-free in the pursuit of a healthier option is often a misguided attempt at healthy eating, says A Season of Change’s resident nutritionist, Dane Fuller.

“In many cases, these products are loaded with hidden sugars and chemicals, which aside from being unhealthy, are digested much faster, resulting in sugar crashes that leave you reaching for the next snack in no time,” he says. “Nutritious foods will be more satisfying and will keep you fuller for longer.”

2. Thinking that coffee doesn’t count: While there’s no shame in craving a little caffeine to kick-start your day, Fuller explains that too often we don’t think of our liquid calories when tallying up our daily food intake. “Remember that a latte is a cup of milk, so if you’re having two or three a day, with sugar added, those calories count just as much as the ones on your plate, especially if you’re trying to lose weight,” he says.

3. Repetition, repetition, repetition: You’re committed to a weekly exercise regime, which is brilliant, but if you’ve been doing the same routine for months you may not be getting the most out of your efforts, according to personal trainer, competitive athlete and one of A Season of Change’s resident fitness experts, Anna Bramley. 

“Someone who does the same activity all the time is likely to plateau much sooner than someone who varies their workouts. Just as you can get bored by always doing the same exercises, your body can also adapt so that the exercise you’re doing doesn’t offer the same benefits it once did,” she says. “You should be looking to change your routine at least every 4 to 8 weeks to keep your muscles challenged, your body guessing and the results coming!”

4. Relying on willpower: The most common challenge in achieving health and wellness goals is relying solely on your willpower to make positive health choices in your day to day life. If you are easily tempted, don’t make the mistake of relying on willpower alone, instead take steps to make sure you’re prepared, says Fuller. “It’s important to replace willpower with strategy. Set yourself up for success by cleansing your home and personal work space of all temptation foods and replace them with healthier options. Why make it hard for yourself, you’re only human,” he says.

5. Hitting the gym daily: Exercise is vital to good health and vitality but, if you’re not giving your body any time to recover, you could be putting yourself at risk of injury or illness. “Even Olympic athletes have scheduled rest days in their training plans, in order to allow the body time to recuperate,” says A Season of Change’s lifestyle coach and former professional football player Luke Sniewski. 

According to Sniewski, what you do on your rest days will depend on your level of fitness. If you’re just starting out, you may want to take a real rest day, in which you do no activity at all, but if you’re a more seasoned athlete, you could still do some really light activity like gentle cardio or a yoga class.  “Either way, use your rest day to reflect on how far you’ve already come and to be grateful for your body and dedication!”

6. Falling hard for ‘healthy’ foods: When we set about to eat better, even the healthiest options can lead us away from our goals when we overindulge, says Fuller. “Foods like nuts, hummus and protein smoothies are all great options, but just because they are healthy doesn’t discount the need for moderation. Focusing on nutritional value and portion size is the best way to keep healthy foods healthy – eating anything in excess is not going to have the desired benefits.”

To help you spring clean your life and develop healthy habits for good, A Season of Change is a free 12-week online program, designed to help women on their path to better health and happiness.  Participants will receive free weekly digital TV episodes on their mobile device or computer containing expert advice on nutrition, health and fitness as well as self-image and styling.   Registrations are now open and close on August 31.

Leftover Cooked Chook: 5-Minute Sensational Stir-Fry

If you are looking to turn last nights cooked chook or roast into something scrumptious, this very versatile recipe is for you. You can use up whatever type of left over meat or poultry you have, add whatever veggies you like and it’s a fast, healthy meal. 

Serves 4

Ingredients

1-2 cups left over cooked chicken, chopped or broken into small pieces

6 cups of frozen or fresh stir fry veggies

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons chicken stock powder

1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Heat non stick pan on high until it’s hot and add your veggies. Toss veggies for a couple of minutes as they cook and then turn down heat to medium.
  2. Add ginger, garlic, chicken stock and water. Stir though and place the lid on. Continue to toss veggies until they are about 2/3 cooked. The time will depend on whether you are using frozen or fresh.
  3. Add chicken and stir through veggie mix. Add soy sauce and replace lid. Cook for about 2 minutes and serve.

By Kim Chartres

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