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Bean Briefs
January 15, 2008

Dry Beans

For 2007-08, production and supply are estimated to decrease because of the 16% lower seeded area and lower yields. Production is expected to fall for all major classes of dry beans; white pea, pinto, black, dark and light red kidney, cranberry, Great Northern, pink and small red. Exports are forecast to decrease due to the lower supply. Carry-out stocks are expected to fall, with a s/u of 6%. U.S. production is estimated to increase by 4% to 1.07 Mt, while supply increases only marginally to 1.22 Mt, as lower carry-in stocks offset most of the production increase. U.S. supply and, to a lesser extent, Canadian supply are the most important factors affecting Canadian prices. The average price, over all types and grades, is forecast to increase because of the lower total U.S. and Canadian supply.

Source: Canadian Pulse and Special Crops Outlook, October 2007

Beans - Basic principles of all food pyramids

MyPyramid, the revamped Food Guide Pyramid, established by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, outlines various food groups and food choices that, if eaten in the right quantities, form the foundation of a healthy diet. Many other pyramids exist, however. These include the Asian, Latin American and Mediterranean diet pyramids, the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, and the Vegetarian Diet Pyramid, just to name a few. The basic principles of these food pyramids are largely the same and follow the same premise of variety and moderation of eating. On the list of recommendations for each of these pyramids include beans and legumes, either daily or at every meal.  The Mayo Clinic states that beans and legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. Theyre also a good source of protein and can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

Eating Beans Helps Lower Cholesterol

A study was conducted at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) agencys Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, ND on a group of volunteers to test whether eating beans actually helps lower cholesterol. For 12 weeks, the group was consuming one-half cup of cooked dry pinto beans daily. The findings show that those in the group saw a reduction in their cholesterol levels.

Authors Philip Reeves and John Finley conducted the study in Grand Forks and published the results in the November issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

The study adds to the growing body of evidence that beans are a heart healthy food choice.

Legumes step into the limelight

Legumes hold great promise for fighting hunger, increasing income and improving soil fertility. However, legumes thus far have not received the scientific or funding attention needed to increase crop yields of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, to help enhance their food security and reduce poverty.

A new cross-continental research and development project, The Tropical Legumes Project, was officially launched in September 2007 involving 14 African and Asian national agricultural research programs.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this projects goal is to improve tropical legumes. Its focus is to enhance the productivity of selected legumes with actual and high potential for improving food security and reducing poverty among smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. These projects will partner with the Program for African Seed Systems, a major initiative within the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, to ensure African farmers have access to seed of improved legume varieties.

Legumes have an important role in getting smallholder farmers onto the first rung of the ladder leading out of poverty. They are critically important as a source of income and nutrition for low-income farm families. This program will reduce the risks, costs and time of creating locally-adapted legume varieties that will improve household nutrition, household income and become an integral tool in integrated soil fertility management for both sub-Saharan Africa and two countries in South Asia.

Likeable Legume Snacks from ARS Research

Garbanzos, lentils, and dry peas and beans can now make crunchy, great-tasting snacks that are also good for you.

Thats according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their university colleagues whove created the unique, healthful treats that can come in a variety of shapes, from crisp bits to tubular puffs.

Researcher Jose De J. Berrios of ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., and Juming Tang and Barry Swanson at Washington State University in Pullman are seeking a patent for the technology that led to the low-sodium, low-fat, cholesterol-free foods. The snacks are also rich in protein and dietary fiber.

Some of the pre-market products have already been taste-tested by about 500 volunteersmost of whom gave the foods an enthusiastic thumbs up. One snack made of crisp, fully-cooked garbanzos is ready to eat out-of-hand or could be tossed with a salad of leafy greens, sprinkled on a bowl of hearty soup, or added to traditional party mixes.

The scientists used a standard piece of food processing equipment, a twin-screw extruder, to make the snacks. Extruders are energy-efficient, fast and versatile, combininginto just one machineseveral steps including mixing, cooking, shaping and other processes needed to convert legume flours into appealing snacks .
The USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council based in Moscow, Idaho, helped fund the research.

Source: USDA/ARS


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