Let’s start with the conclusion: we should all eat beans. Every day. Beans help prevent chronic disease, and they provide us with necessary complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Most every ancient culture of the world has depended on some form of legume as a staple in their diet. But how should we prepare beans in order to maximize their protective potential?
Scientists compared boiled beans to sprouted beans in an effort to determine which form had more protective qualities against cancer. Extracts of boiled beans and bean sprouts were added to breast cancer cells in a petri dish. Both boiled and sprouted bean extracts killed breast cancer cells, at 8.88 and 12.88 concentrations, respectively. On melanoma cells, both extracts stopped cancer cell growth at similar concentrations, 2.65 and 2.72. For actually reversing melanoma cell growth, a concentration of 10.82 of boiled bean extract was required whereas a concentration of 96.17 was required for sprouted beans. Kidney cancer cells died off with a heavy concentration of boiled bean extract, but did not respond at all to the extract of sprouted beans.
Researchers also examined the effect of boiled and sprouted bean extracts on astrocytes, the most abundant type of brain cell. When the extracts were applied to healthy astrocytes, the boiled bean extract had no effect, but the extract from sprouted beans seemed to help the cells grow slightly. However, when the astrocytes were treated with the bean extracts and then exposed to an oxidative chemical--in simulation of a neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's--there was a marked difference. The astrocytes that were given higher doses of boiled bean extract were protected from damage, but the astrocytes with sprouted bean extract showed no significant protection.
Dr. Michael Greger presents this information in the video below Cooked Beans or Sprouted Beans? He suggests that we should prepare beans in whichever way we are most willing to eat them in abundance. Canned, sprouted, or home cooked are all valid ways to enjoy the power-punch of nutrition that beans give us!
Video Credit: Cooked Beans or Sprouted Beans? - NutritionFacts.Org