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Harry Potter and his Magical Beans!

Posted by Nikki F.

The famed wizard, Harry Potter, may have accumulated more life-saving tools than just those learned at the esteemed Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It turns out Potter’s native diet is highly abundant in antioxidants that fight chronic diseases and stress. Hopefully the final, newly released Harry Potter novel will disclose how Potter took advantage of his home’s healthful cuisine.

Research proves that the key ingredients in Baked Beans—a cornerstone of the classic English breakfast—help Harry and his countrymen to lead healthier, longer lives. A 25 year-long Michigan State University study revealed that eating beans slows cancer growth, especially that of the colon. Researchers also found that substituting beans—which have a low caloric density and are high in fiber—for carbs made from white flour (like white bread and pasta), keep you fuller longer, restraining you from overeating and helping you maintain a lean physique. Another wonder of beans’ high fiber level is its ability to lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”). Benefits of lower LDL include fewer cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. And I’ve heard it improves your Quidditch game!

Tomatoes—the second ingredient in Baked Bean—are also an extremely heart healthy pick. Research out of Cornell found that tomatoes’ levels of both antioxidants (which protect our cells and tissue from damage caused by oxygen-released free radicals) and lycopene (the most efficient antioxidant) increase tremendously when tomatoes are heated. This is good news for the English diet as 1) tomatoes in baked beans are cooked and 2) antioxidants, lycopene especially, decrease cancer and heart-disease risk.

Adding black tea to this healthy breakfast increases the wellness factor further. A 2006 study at University College London shows that the tea helps you de-stress faster and lowers your risk for heart disease and heart attack by decreasing both the level of the stress hormone cortisol and blood clotting. Better drink your cuppa English Breakfast!

Complete this healthful, English breakfast with protein-rich fried egg-whites (use a low-calorie cooking spray) and a little all-fruit jam spread on whole wheat toast. Keep up a healthy lifestyle and at the end of the week you can reward yourself with a treacle tart! Here’s a great fat-free recipe for baked beans from Cheers and good luck to Harry!

Baked Beans


12 oz haricot beans

1 onion

1 clove garlic

2 sticks celery

2 carrots

4 tomatoes

1 Tbls tomato puree

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp brown sugar

Salt and pepper

A little stock for frying


Soak the beans overnight, or pour boiling water over them an hour before using. Boil the beans until nearly tender, or cook under pressure for 6 minutes. Peel and chop the vegetables and fry them gently in the stock until they are giving up their own juices. Cool, remove from the pan and liquidize this mixture.

Place the beans in a dish and pour over the liquidized vegetables, tomato puree, paprika and seasonings. If the beans are not just covered by the liquid, add a little more stock or water from the beans. Cover the dish and cook a 250F or gas mark 1 for an hour or so, or until the beans are fully tender.


Comments (6)
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This is the first time that I have heard about tea helps people de-stress. I wonder if it is because it's warm and soothing or due to the herbs. Does anyone know? I know a cup of coffee always helps me release some stress (it's like a comfort drink). Do you prefer tea or coffee and do you believe there are any health benefits to either?
I goggled "black tea benefits" and found majority of the sites agree that black tea is more beneficial than green tea. Apparently, black tea is known for medicinal purposes throughout history. Lowers cholesterol, maintains blood pressure, aids in breathing and helps resolve diarrhea are some of the benefits. As far as antioxidants are concerned coffee beats black tea as American's number one source -- that includes decaf. Harry Potter has healthy benefits as well -- an increase of literary interest in young readers throughout the world.
Nutrition is one of my struggles. I try to be conscious of it, and at most times I am, but as far as really doing research on nutritional principles, it just doesn't happen. Truthfully, it's because I get completely bored when I read about nutrition. So, I cut soda's and sweets and concentrate on my portion sizes. But, your article was fun to read and very helpful. And the fact that you through in the reference to Harry Potter, I was even more into it! Thanks!
I have to honestly say I never considered that the traditional English diet was all that healthy. Seems like it's a lot of meat and potatoes to me. (Don't get me wrong - I like meat and potatoes!) I am curious to hear how the rest of English food Shepherd's Pie also good for you?
I must admit having beans for breakfast sounded a bit odd. I think sometimes we limit ourselves too much. We have ideas firmly in mind as to what constitutes the appropriate food for each meal. In fact, we would be much better off eating beans for breakfast than pancakes and syrup. Or for that matter to eat oatmeal and fruit for dinner instead of chicken alfredo and garlic bread. Thanks for helping us think outside the everyday.
And don't forget, Harry Potter series promote exercise and team sports as well! Not only does Harry do a lot of hiking during his adventures (through forests and the like), but Harry joins the Quidditch team too! Good nutrition and exercise abound in Harry's life!
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