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A great source of soluble fiber, beans help to reduce cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar. They are packed with tons of nutrients and should be a part of our diet even if we’re not struggling with high cholesterol or diabetes. They’re great to throw onto salads and into grains, or use them as a side dish cooked and lightly seasoned.

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I especially like edamame (aka soy beans). Not only does it taste great, but this bean contains all essential amino acids needed to make a complete protein. In other words, soy beans are equivalent in protein quality to that of chicken, beef, pork and other animal proteins. The same goes for all products made from this bean such as tofu and tempeh. Soy is free of the type of saturated fat found in animal meats, which, if eaten in excess, has been shown to raise the risk of heart disease. Go easy on the meat, and enjoy your beans!

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Just mix together the following ingredients in a large bowl and you’re good to go.

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Black Bean Edamame Salad

3 cups edamame, shelled (if frozen, thawed)

2 cups black beans (if canned, drained and rinsed)

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

3 stalks of scallion, chopped

1 stalk of celery, diced

1 lime, juiced

1 generous handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 hearty dash of cayenne pepper

1 TBS cumin

salt and pepper to taste

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