By Bonnie Taub-Dix for U.S. News Health
We've all heard the expression "shop the perimeter of the store." But if you skip the middle, you're missing out on a wealth of wholesome, delicious food choices. Your supermarket shelves are filled with hidden treasures that you shouldn't pass up. Like beans, one of the most neglected and under-valued items.
Beans provide myriad health benefits, and they fit into several different food groups: Although they are rich in complex carbs like breads and starches, as a plant-based food, they feel right at home in the vegetable group, offering an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, like their veggie companions. They can also hold their own in the protein group, supplying protein aplenty. Unlike some other members of this group, beans provide little to no fat and are cholesterol-free. In fact, beans actually lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels instead of potentially causing them to increase, as some animal proteins have been shown to do.