All dry beans are good for us. (Elena Elisseeva/Dreamstime/TNS)

By Barbara Quinn The Monterey County Herald (TNS)

What are dry beans? a) The opposite of wet beans; b) Edible seeds from legume plants; c) Foods referred to as “pulses” that need to be cooked before eating. Answer: b and c.

According to the US Dry Bean Council, which states produce the most beans? a) North Dakota, Michigan and Nebraska; b) Minnesota, Idaho and Colorado; c) California and Washington. Answer: All these states produce dry beans but North Dakota, Michigan and Nebraska top the list.

Which beans do we Americans like the most? a) Pinto and navy; b) Great Northern; c) red kidney and black beans. Answer: a) Pinto and navy are the most popular, followed by the other types.

According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, what is unique about beans? a) They make you the life of the party; b) They come in a variety of colors; c) They are high in protein as well as other important nutrients, so we can count them as vegetables and protein foods. Answer: b and c.

What type of beans are the most healthful for you? a) Pinto, navy, Great Northern; b) red and black beans; c) the ones that you eat. Answer: c) All dry beans are good for us.

Why are beans good for us? a) They provide good conversation at dinner parties; b) They contain compounds that can lower blood cholesterol levels; c) They are digested slowly so they can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Answers: b and c.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska recently reported that pinto beans contain substances that a) make you run faster and jump higher; b) can reduce cholesterol as effectively as some medications; c) lowered cholesterol levels in animals even when they were fed a diet high in saturated fat. Answer: b and c. Although this study was done with animals, these scientists found certain components in pinto beans that appear to turn off the liver’s ability to manufacturer excess cholesterol, much in the way that some cholesterol-lowering medications work. Fascinating.

The recommended amount of beans we need to eat for top-notch health is a) 1 cup a day; b) 1 cup a week; c) 1/2 to 2 cups a week, depending on how many calories you eat. Answer: c. People with smaller appetites need at least a half cup of cooked beans or lentils a week; bigger eaters should aim for 2 or more cups a week, according to current guidelines.

Beans are less gassy when we a) hold our breath; b) rinse and soak them in water, drain and cook them in fresh water; c) gradually add them to our diets. Answer: b and c.

According to the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, one pound (2 cups) of dry beans turns into a) enough to feed a football team; b) 6 cups of cooked beans; c) a tasty and healthful meal. Answer: b and c.

(Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at to———
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