Currently, there are several diet options: from the mediterranean, dash, mind, ketogenic, among others. However, among so many options, which one is the most suitable for Brazilians? The answer is simple and straightforward: rice and beans.
The good old rice and beans, as common as it may seem, provides all the food base that an individual needs, as explained by Vanderli Marchiori, a member of the Brazilian Society of Food and Nutrition.
“When we combine rice and beans, a little more beans than rice, we have a very balanced amount of carbohydrate and protein that serves as the basis of our diet”, he explains.
Rice, by itself, is low in protein, so it won’t make you feel full and you’ll feel hungry quickly. Beans, on the other hand, when consumed alone, will give you satiety, but there will be a lack of carbohydrate to adjust the caloric need of the day.
Taking into account essential macronutrients such as lipids, fat, protein and carbohydrates, rice and beans are nutritious options.
The appropriate amount for each person will depend on a few factors, such as gender, height and age. Younger people, for example, consume more energy, so they need a larger portion of the pair.
“For an average Brazilian woman of 30 years and 1.60 m, it would be close to three tablespoons of rice with a large shell of beans”, says the nutritionist.
If we consider the generic pattern, according to Vanderli, the correct part is one part rice for two parts beans; for example, two tablespoons of rice and four tablespoons of beans.
O Food Guide — How to Eat Healthyfrom the Ministry of Health, also recommends that Brazilians eat beans and rice every day, or at least five times a week.
The document explains that “this Brazilian dish is a complete combination of proteins and good for health”. Among the recommendations are the variation of the type of beans (black, carioquinha, green and white, for example) and the way of preparation.
However, even if the duo provides what the body needs, for it to become truly complete, according to the nutritionist, “it will always need vegetables to make the extra composition of vitamins and minerals”.
To achieve the gold standard, rice and beans can be complemented with an egg — boiled, poached or low-fat omelet — and a good salad with whatever vegetables are available.
“We can make it with cabbage, for example, which yields a lot, or with grated carrots. But, if you are a person who can already eat a more varied salad, we can rotate between lettuce, arugula, spinach, tomato, carrot, among others”, recommends Vanderli.
The professional says that the most complete meal is “rice plus beans, with 100 grams of fish or chicken, or two eggs, and a generous portion of raw salad in different colors”.
Vegetables are extremely important, as they are responsible for fine-tuning metabolism—regulating each cell. The lack of them can cause fatigue, hair loss and weak nails, for example.
The dish can also be combined with passion fruit or lemon juice and water, an essential element in any diet.
Rice and beans are not just a balanced and nutritious option; can also be used as a weight loss strategy.
“The caloric value of rice and beans, when combined, is quite suitable for a larger meal, such as lunch or dinner, and is rich in fiber, because beans have a lot of fiber”, informs the specialist.
Vanderli also notes that “Brazilians started to gain weight from the moment they took the rice and beans off their plate. The increase in obesity rates are linked to the family budget survey, which shows a lower consumption of beans and rice by the population”.
One British Journal of Nutrition studypublished this year, also evaluated, based on a systematic review, what may have motivated the increase in global rates of overweight in children.
The researchers found that the growth was “due to intense advertising practices, low prices of high-calorie foods, and increased consumption power—children and teenagers have immediate access to ultra-processed foods in snack bars and fast-food outlets near their homes and school”.
The results show that all age groups may be, increasingly, removing rice and beans from the plate.
* Intern at R7 under the supervision of Carla Canteras
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