7 Things That Make Beans Magical

You might know beans are delicious. You may even remember all the words of the schoolyard rhyme about them, but what else do you know about the fruit? Most people take beans for granted because they seem to be such a simple side dish, but there's a whole lot more to beans than you probably realized.

A Bean By Any Other Name

Because beans are grown all throughout the world, it’s common for certain species to have multiple names. In fact, at least 11 types of beans have four names or more and certain species like the fava bean and navy bean have over 10 names. Other names for the fava bean include broad bean, butter bean, Windsor bean, horse bean, English bean, fool, foul, ful, feve, faba, haba and habas. The navy bean is also known as Yankee bean, white pea bean, pearl haricot, Boston bean, Boston navy bean, pea bean, haricot blanc bean, small white bean, haricot bean and fagioli. You may have thought you never tried a type of bean and actually just heard one of its alternate names. Source

Beans Kick It Old School These fruits are one of the longest plants to be cultivated by humans. Broad beans have been planted and grown since at least ancient Egypt and common beans were harvested over six thousand years ago in the Americas. Most of the beans we eat fresh come from the Americas and were first discovered by Christopher Columbus. Source

They Really Are Somewhat Magical

Or at least, magical enough to be involved in folklore. There are multiple folk tales that involve magical beans growing all the way into the clouds –the most famous of these is, of course, Jack and The Beanstalk. There is also a Grimm’s fairytale that describes a bean that laughs at the failure of others so hard that its sides actually split open. Source

They’re Often Considered Lucky Multiple cultures associate eating or planting beans on certain days with good luck. Certain areas of Europe consider it to be lucky to plant beans on Good Friday. In Nicaragua, newly weds eat a bowl of beans for good luck. New Year’s Day involves a number of superstitions, in the Southern U.S., Malta, Brazil and Italy eating beans or lentils is considered to bring increased prosperity in the next year. Source

Attack of the Killer Beans

Certain beans, especially those that are red in color, contain harmful toxins that can only be removed through cooking. Strangely, eating these beans when they are undercooked may be more toxic than eating the beans raw. Sometimes the undercooked beans will still taste and smell fine though. The toxicity will usually not result in death, but in severe nausea and diarrhea. Source

Ever Wonder What Makes Them So ‘Musical?’ It’s widely known that beans and cabbage can make you fart. The reason is that many beans have the same sugar molecules found in cabbage. Because a certain enzyme that humans don’t have in their body is needed to digest these molecules, bacteria in the large intestine digest the sugar. This digestion produces increased gases as a byproduct. Soaking the beans in water for a few hours can help reduce this problem, so will the induction of certain other enzymes, like those found in Beano. Source

Hold the Beans Please

The followers of Pythagoras had a lot of dietary restrictions, on top of being vegetarian, they also refused to eat beans. The reason is unclear, but many people believe it was due to flatulence, while others believe it was because they look like female genitalia. The most commonly accepted reason though is that the beans and humans were said to be created from the same material. Source

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I've heard a different story regarding why Pythagoras did not approve of his followers eating beans, and that was because he believed that when you farted, you released part of your soul. If that's true, I don't think I have any soul left.
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This puts me in mind of an old rhyme my dad used to say when I was a kid:

"Beans, beans, the magical fruit!
The more you eat, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you feel,
So eat some beans at every meal!"
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