We all used to sing it: “Bean, beans are good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you fart. The more you fart, the better you’ll feel. So eat beans and feel unreal!”
As silly as the lyrics sound, there is some truth to the words! Beans are high in minerals and fibre and can reduce your “bad cholesterol,” a leading cause of heart disease. Beans have also been shown to be a powerhouse for feeding your beneficial bacteria in your gut. A diverse and healthy microbiome has wide health effects, from maintaining good gut functioning, to improving the metabolism and body composition, to enhancing a balanced mood.
Oh, and the part about farting…that’s a good sign that your microbiome is feeding & growing!
To get more beans into your diet, try out this delicious Butter Bean Shephard’s Pie. It is seriously the best you’ll ever try!
Butter Bean Shephard’s Pie
90ml olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
600g minced lamb
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp ground allspice
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp garam masala
100g dried apricots, quartered
500ml chicken bone broth (or stock)
80g pitted green olives, cut in half lengthways
670g cooked butterbeans (i.e. 3 tins’ worth, drained; alternatively, soak 400g uncooked beans in water overnight with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, drain and boil until cooked)
3 tbsp tahini paste
In a large, heavy-based pan for which you have a lid, heat three tablespoons of oil on a medium-high heat, then saute the garlic and shallots for about five minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden. Turn up the heat to high, then add the lamb, cumin, allspice, half the lemon zest and half a teaspoon of salt. Fry for five minutes or so, stirring every now and then, until browned all over, then add the tomato paste, garam masala and half the apricots. Fry for two minutes more, then add the broth/stock, turn down the heat to medium, cover and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.