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Healthy 2009: Beans and Cabbage

The new year represents a fresh start and we all look toward the future with hope. In the foods that folks traditionally eat on New Year's Day, health and prosperity come together in the form of beans and cabbage — two superfoods.

The circular shape of beans represents the cycle of a year ending as well as prosperity — the beans represent coins. Black-eyed peas are considered good luck in the South. Chickpeas are eaten on the first day of the new year in southern France and in Italy. In Japan, red beans are eaten on New Year's Day for prosperity. Beans are a great source of both protein and fiber. Low in fat and affordable, beans provide a good source of important minerals: calcium, iron, and potassium. Why not make a pot of veggie chili to ring in the new year.

Cabbage is eaten for prosperity, too. The leaves are considered to be representative of paper currency. Eating money will bring you money! Cabbage is most nutritionally prepared by steaming or sauteing, but not boiling since the leaves can lose up to 90 percent of their healthy antioxidants when cooked in water. Cabbage is high in vitamins K and C, the mineral magnesium, and even a little bit of omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, it is great for cleansing your liver, which might feel a little taxed today after last night's party.

Add these two lucky and healthy foods to your diet in the new year. Even if it isn't today, you can't go wrong with beans and cabbage.

What do you eat on New Year's Day? Tell me in the comment section below.


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