One of the ultimate survival foods.
The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) provides enough balanced nutrition to keep a person alive for a long time on that single food alone. It is an important source of nutrition, providing protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber and valuable micronutrients, including calcium and iron, to the human diet. In many regions around the world, beans have become the second most important source of calories after maize.
There are an estimated 40,000 varieties of common bean, showing incredible variety in color, flavor, and growing habits. Dried and seasoned beans are now being marketed as healthier alternatives to other salty snacks. There are even bean-based tortilla chips, which have more than twice the protein, five times the fiber and four times the iron than their corn-based counterparts. Bean flours are increasingly popular as more people aim to go gluten-free and vegetarians and vegans look to increase their protein consumption. Beans are being touted as the cost-effective, climate friendly, heart smart and fiber-rich alternative to meat among the health food industry. Bean burgers, bean smoothies, bean soups and even bean cookies.
There are 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone who depend on beans as a primary staple and about 400 million people globally.