Ever thought of a humble ingredient that doesn’t get the attention it deserves? Flageolet beans are one of those. But here’s the thing, these beans have been around for centuries and are praised for their numerous health benefits and savory flavor. Adding them to your diet can provide you with various essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
This article explores more on the proven benefits of flageolet beans and how you can incorporate them into your regular diet. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook, you will discover that flageolet beans are an excellent ingredient in your pantry. Read on!
What Are Flageolet Beans?
Flageolet beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are haricot beans that were first grown in France in the 18th century.
They are a common ingredient in French cuisine and can be found in various dishes, including baked beans and cassoulet. They are also referred to as caviar of beans due to their subtle flavor and how highly they are esteemed in places like France.
Flageolet beans are known for their small size and mint-green color, which is not common among other types of beans. Generally, they are harvested before they reach full maturity and dried in the shade to retain their green color.
In terms of shape, they are kidney-shaped, and when shelled and cooked, they have a firm creamy texture.
They are low in calories but an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber. This makes them a good choice for those wanting to lose weight. They also contain several vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron, and magnesium.
You can easily add cooked flageolet in various recipes, including soups, stews, and even salads.
Proven Health Benefits of Flageolet Beans
Flageolet beans have several benefits, including;
1. Boosting your immune system
The immune system is the body’s defense system against infections. If your immune system is strong, you can easily fight off infections and quickly recover after an illness. It can also help prevent you from illnesses altogether.
However, if it’s weak, you’ll find that you get sick easily, more often, and take time to recover.
Certain nutrients in different foods can help strengthen your immune system.
For instance, flageolets contain high levels of antioxidants such as flavonoids which help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicles are unstable compounds that can cause oxidative stress leading to cell damage. This can also cause inflammation, which is the root cause of most conditions.
With reduced inflammation and low levels of circulating free radicals, you can easily have your immune system working at its best.
The beans also contain Zinc, a cofactor for various enzymes involved in the development and function of immune cells, such as T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells.
Furthermore, these beans are a good source of proteins, which a study has shown supports the production of antibodies and other immune cells.
2. Reducing congenital disabilities
According to Word Health Organization (WHO), congenital disabilities are functional or structural defects that occur in the womb. They can be identified prenatally before the child is born, at birth, or later in life.
Some of these conditions can be inherited, while some can develop due to environmental factors and a lack of certain nutrients during pregnancy, such as folic acid.
That’s why pregnant women often take folic acid supplements during pregnancy.
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin that has been shown to prevent spina bifida, a spinal defect where the developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly.
Flageolets are rich in folic acids, and consuming them during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of such defects.
3. Good for the skin
Flageolets beans are a good source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that can protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation and other environmental stressors.
Additionally, vitamin E has healing and moisturizing benefits. It’s a common ingredient in skin care products such as lotions, moisturizers, and antiaging creams. It can also help treat dry skin and stop the skin from losing moisture, fight inflammation, and generally strengthen the skin barrier.
Additionally, the Zinc in flageolet plays a crucial role in the growth and repair of skin tissue which can help reduce the risk of acne and other skin conditions.
4. Helps in weight management
As a result of the low-calorie, low-fat, and high-fiber content in flageolets, they are an excellent option for people looking to manage their weight.
Generally, the high fiber content of flageolet beans is beneficial in keeping you feeling full for longer, thus reducing the desire to snack on high-calorie foods that can contribute to weight gain.
Additionally, the slow digestion of fiber-rich foods like flageolet beans aids in regulating blood sugar levels, which can help maintain a steady energy supply and prevent unnecessary cravings.
5. Ample source of protein
Similar to other legumes, flageolet beans provide a good source of protein, essential for various functions, including:
- Promoting muscle development
- Controlling blood sugar levels
- Helping with bone metabolism
- Slowing down the aging process
- Maintaining ideal weight
- Boosting the immune system
- Promoting hormonal balance
As such, flageolets are a valuable source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, including those desiring to cut down their meat consumption.
6. Strong bones and muscles
Flageolet beans are a good source of nutrients such as Calcium and Phosphorus that are significant for maintaining strong bones and muscles.
Calcium, in particular, is essential for proper bone development and maintenance. Besides, calcium can help promote nerve function, maintain acid-base balance, manage blood pressure, and protect against diabetes and some cancers.
On the other hand, Phosphorus is crucial for bone growth and mineralization. Bone mineralization is the laying down of minerals such as calcium on the bone matrix leading to mineral-dense solid bones. Phosphorus also helps strengthen muscles and prevent muscle weakness and fatigue. It also plays a crucial role in the production of energy in the body.
Together, Calcium and Phosphorus are essential for maintaining overall bone health and preventing various bone-related conditions, such as osteoporosis, a condition characterized by
7. A good source of energy
Flageolets contain carbohydrates which are broken down into glucose to be used by the body’s cells as a source of energy.
Eating foods rich in carbohydrates, like flageolet beans, can help provide the body with an energy boost, especially for physically active people, such as athletes who need sustained energy throughout the day.
8. Reduces Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fatty wax-like substance made in the liver and found in the cells and blood. Cholesterol is essential for various functions, including making hormones and bile acids. However, too much cholesterol can be harmful to your health.
Flageolet beans are rich in dietary fiber, essential for reducing cholesterol levels. Mainly, the soluble fiber in these beans binds to cholesterol and bile acids in the gut, thus, promoting their excretion. This aids in lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
Consequently, eating a diet high in fiber is crucial in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
Additionally, flageolet beans contain Phytosterols, which are plant compounds that have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Phytosterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and can compete with cholesterol for absorption in the gut leading to lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
9. Boosts the production of red blood cells
Red blood cells are an important element of the blood. They contain a protein called hemoglobin which transports oxygen from the lungs to the body cells. For the body to make hemoglobin, however, it needs iron.
Flageolets are loaded with iron; thus, consuming them can help maintain normal oxygen delivery to the body, among other benefits.
Flageolet beans also contain vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps the body absorb iron, particularly non-heme iron, a form of iron found in plant-based foods like flageolet beans.
10. It helps in kicking away stress
Flageolet beans are rich in nutrients such as Magnesium, Vitamins B and E, which are vital in mitigating stress levels in the body.
One study has shown that Magnesium is crucial in producing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to mood and stress reduction while promoting a sense of tranquility and well-being.
The B vitamins, particularly B1 and B3, are essential in maintaining healthy nerve function and can assist in reducing stress symptoms such as irritability and fatigue. Vitamin E also helps in reducing the production of stress hormones like Cortisol.
In one study, an administration of vitamin E reduced Cortisol levels from 7.6 +/- 9.5 to 4.2 +/- 0.2 nmol/l within 24 hours. However, a recent study on the same did not confirm the same result. So more research is needed on this topic.
11. Prevents Blood Clotting
Lastly, Flageolet beans contain nutrients such as Vitamin K and Magnesium that are crucial for regulating the coagulation process. Generally, Vitamin K aids in producing the proteins needed for blood clotting. This process is essential, especially during bleeding, as it stops the wound from bleeding, thus promoting healing.
Additionally, several studies have shown that Magnesium can promote better platelet function. As such, adequate intake of Magnesium helps in preventing excessive blood clotting while reducing the risk of thrombosis.
How to cook flageolet beans
- Start by sorting the beans and rinsing them out using a strainer under running water.
- Cover the beans with water and let them soak overnight or for 8 hours.
- In the morning, drain the soaked water, rinse the beans again and cover them with fresh water in a large pot.
- Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and let the beans simmer for about 1-3 hours or until tender.
- You can throw in some bay leaf or rosemary and let them boil together.
- Once cooked, remove the herbs and your beans are ready for various recipes. You can also toss it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and eat it as is or as a side dish
Flageolet bean recipes
Flageolet bean soup
Bean soups like flageolet soup are a clean source of plant-based protein that can prevent you from overeating. You can try other various soup recipes, including those featuring other legumes like red beans, lentils, etc.
My favorite recipe features cooked flageolet, curry, finely chopped shallots, vegetable broth or water, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger paste, and unsalted vegan butter.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped shallots. Let them cook for about a minute or two, stirring not to burn, then add the garlic and ginger paste. Keep going for one more minute, then pour in your cooked beans.
- Stir in the curry, salt, paper, and a liquid of choice. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Puree or blend everything, then bring back to boil for a minute.
- Some people skip the blending and use it more like a stew.
- Serve it in a bowl and enjoy. You can top it with freshly chopped cilantro, parsley, or any other spice of your choice.
Flageolet bean salads
His salad can include pretty much any vegetable. If you have some shallots, tomatoes, and parsley, chop them up into a bowl. Add cooked and cooled beans or drained and rinsed canned beans.
Make a simple dressing with lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour into the salad and toss it. There you have it!
Baked flageolet bean
- To bake your beans, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
- In a pan, lightly fry some onion and garlic in olive oil.
- Add smoked paprika, tomato paste, passata, dry mustard, lemon juice, salt, cooked beans, and vegetable broth. Mix through
- Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish or pot and bake for 2-3 hours, depending on your favorite consistency.
- If you want your beans juicy, 2 hours are enough; however, if you need a much thicker consistency, wait for 3 hours.
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Flageolet beans are a staple ingredient in French cuisine but can be found worldwide.
It’s rich in essential nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Adding them to your diet can boost your health in various ways, including boosting immunity, managing weight, improving skin health, reducing cholesterol, and more.
Consider adding them to your diet, whether in soup, salads, or any other recipe of choice.
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