You may remember the schoolyard chime, “beans, beans the magical fruit…” Well, when it comes to a healthy diabetes diet, beans are fantastic! Beans are high in carbohydrates and need to be eaten in the proper portions, but beans digest slowly, resulting in only a small rise in blood sugar. Several research studies have shown that eating 1 ½ – 2 ½ cups of cooked beans daily has a beneficial effect on diabetes management. Beans also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, a common complication for people with diabetes, because they are an excellent source of folate. Studies also suggest that eating 1-3 cups of cooked beans a day will lower cholesterol By 5-19%. Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, beans are also low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. They can be included in all types of diabetes meal plans. Beans can be used in salads, soups or entrees. Canned beans require less preparation time and have the same benefits as dried beans, but they are higher in sodium than beans “cooked from scratch.” When using canned beans, rinse and drain them to remove the extra sodium. Soak dried beans overnight and rinse well before cooking. Introduce beans gradually into your diet, chew them thoroughly, and drink plenty of liquids to aid digestion. It is hard to find a better source of overall great nutrition and protein than beans.