top of page

Rice & Beans (Man cannot live on Rice & Beans Alone, but can he?)

The complete protein

One cup of rice and black beans has 12 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber, compared with a cup of chicken and rice which has less than 1 gram of fiber. These two foods are among the oldest foods known to humankind. The combination of beans and rice creates a complete protein. Beans alone and rice alone both lack certain essential amino acids. Complete proteins contain full doses of all nine essential amino acids, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Beans ~ Every plant we eat has at least a little bit of protein in it. Some have a lot-like beans, also called legumes! The term "legumes" refers to a large family of plants, which includes lentils, peanuts, peas and all kinds of beans, like soybeans. Legumes are rich in protein and offer certain health benefits that animal proteins do not.

  1. Beans are high in minerals without the saturated fat found in animal proteins.

  2. Beans as a part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle may help reduce your blood cholesterol levels and may lower your risk of heart disease. (

  3. Beans are a great source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber refers to the parts of the plant that your body can't digest. Adding beans to your diet may help with weight management. The dietary fiber in beans may help you feel full longer, so you eat fewer calories.

Rice ~ White rice is a refined grain, which means it has been milled and the bran and germ have been removed. The refining process removes much of the B Vitamins, iron, and dietary fiber. Most refined grains are enriched so some of the vitamins and iron are added back after processing, but fiber is not. Brown rice is a whole grain and has all three parts of the grain-the bran, the germ, and endosperm (a food reserve tissue inside the seeds; surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition in the form of starch). Without the fiber of the bran the carbs in the white rice rush your bloodstream resulting in an immediate carb/sugar burst from highly processed white rice.

What the bean?

Black beans are good for building muscle because they provide a plant based protein source. Black beans are healthy foods that help prevent cancer because they're filled with phytochemicals that protect our cells from damage and black beans specifically are packed with antioxidants. Black beans that come out of a can, make sure to read the label for added salt, non-GMO, organic and no other added non essential ingredients.

Now the troubling information about legumes, lectins. Active lectins can cause digestive problems and block the absorption of iron, zinc, calcium, and other nutrients. The good news is that cooking or soaking beans destroys active lectins. Dried beans have to be soaked and then boiled for at least ten minutes. What it comes down to is that humans have problems digesting lectins as they can pass through your stomach unchanged and most of these lectin-containing foods are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and numerous beneficial compounds...the benefits far outweigh the negative effects and trace amounts of lectins.

Rice (a roni!)

Who remembers Rice-a-roni!? The easy to make package of what I think is rice with some packet of chemicals for flavoring. We have come a long way, I Minute Rice? Oh no!

Rice is a complicated subject. There are many different kinds outside of just white and brown as well as varieties such as jasmine, basmati, arborio, wild rice, and more. Not only are the categories of rice abundant so are the nutritional values. Rice is a staple that provides us energy. Since rice is a carbohydrate there is a measuring system called the Glycemic Index (GI) which measures the impact of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels. If your food has a GI of below 55, it is considered a low GI food, between 55-70 is medium and above 70 is considered a high GI.

If you'd like to learn more about how the GI is measured for rice read this article on how much amylose rice contains.

To make this easy the stickier the rice the less healthy it is, the higher the GI. Jasmine rice GI 96-116, Basmati Rice GI 55-65, Black Rice GI 42.

Brown rice has always been known as the "healthier" alternative to white rice. There is one negative for brown rice, arsenic. Brown rice contains elevated levels of the naturally occurring toxic element, which is present in many foods. It's not enough to cause harm in a typical diet, unless eaten every day in considerable amounts.

The decision, brown basmati rice or if you can afford it...wild (forbidden) rice.

Simple Rice & Bean Recipes

Veggie Chick Black Beans & Rice (In under 15 minutes!)

Red Beans & Rice, New Orleans Style

Spanish Rice & Beans

One Pot Rice & Beans

16 views0 comments


bottom of page