The flavonoid factors are highest in red, black, and deep-colored beans. But all beans, including cream-colored navy beans and garbanzo beans, contain iron, folate, zinc, and a bit of calcium.
- Iron. Beans supply anywhere from 1 to 4 milligrams of iron in every half-cup serving. That's an amount similar to what you'd get in a serving of beef. Your body does a better job of taking in iron from animal sources, but you can compensate by mixing a little meat in with the beans.
- Folate. You probably know that women of childbearing age should eat foods rich in folate to help prevent neural-tube defects in their babies. You also need folate as you age to reduce your blood levels of homocysteine, a substance that puts you at greater risk for heart disease.
- Zinc. Some people have trouble getting enough zinc, which is essential for your body's growth, insulin function, and immune system. Beans are an excellent source of zinc.
- Calcium. Don't trade in your glass of milk or calcium-fortified orange juice or beans. However, every bit helps, and a half-cup serving of beans supplies 4 to 8 percent of the calcium you should have every day.
White Beans and Spinach Ragout This savory blend of bacon, cannellini beans and spinach is drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette, for this perfect low-cal side dish.