Why Baked Beans Are a Superfood

Men's Health
·2-min read
Photo credit: Westend61
Photo credit: Westend61

The superfoods aisle at a health shop might seem like your safest bet if you’re hoping to eat your way to a longer life. Yet you’ll find the most effective life extender at your local corner shop. According to epidemiologists working for the World Health Organisation, bean intake is the best predictor of longevity, beating fruit, veg and wholegrain cereals. For every 20g of beans that the subjects in their study ate per day, their chances of dying from any cause fell by 8%.

The study focused on four countries well known for having long-lived inhabitants: Japan, Sweden, Greece and Australia. The first three of these are committed bean-eating cultures. Legumes are present in Japanese cuisine in soya, tofu, natto and miso; they also feature heavily in the Scandi and Mediterranean diets. The baked beans you had on your full English – typically haricot – are nutrient powerhouses, too. But to maximise your chances of a longer life, make a habit of eating kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils, as well.

Seafood also works hard to keep you going: for every 20g that the study’s participants consumed per day, their mortality risk sank by 6%. So, try combining butter beans with fish in a stew, or add a tin of cannellini to your spaghetti marinara. Use your beans – you can thank us when you’re an old fart.

Best Breakfast Foods

Hit your protein goals and top up on your five-a-day:

Bacon

Stick to a single grilled rasher of lean back bacon for a dose of B vitamins for only 50kcal.

Eggs

Add poached eggs. They’re rich in choline, crucial for brain function, memory and fending off cognitive decline.

Mushrooms

Button mushrooms promote your immune function by increasing antiviral proteins, staving off colds and flu.

Tomatoes

These contain lycopene, an antioxidant that improves heart health and protects against cancers.

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