16 reasons beans may be the food of the future.
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Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

Let's get one thing straight here: Beans may get a bad rap, but they're fantastic.

It's not uncommon to hear people say negative things about beans. "They don't give you enough protein! They're gross! They make you fart!" But don't let those naysayers get to you. There are two big things these folks are missing.

This kid is not excited about his beans. Don't be like this kid. Image via iStock.


The first is that the word "bean" doesn't refer to a single food so much as an entire category. A "bean" is simply a large seed from the plant family Fabaceae. "Beans" don't just include black beans or green beans, but also lentils, soybeans, chickpeas, and even peanuts. Yes, peanuts are beans!

The second thing to remember about beans is that they're critical to global food security, especially in the face of climate change. As our global population continues to expand, it's so important to have a supply of crops that can survive a variety of growing conditions.

A farmer in El Salvador holds beans. Image via Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images.

With those things in mind, let's get to it.

What's all the bean fuss about? Here are 16 reasons why beans are great:

1. Beans are inexpensive.

A can of black beans at most grocery stores in the U.S. will cost you less than a dollar. Even if you're pretty hungry, that's two servings at 50 cents each, tops. Still out of your budget? Opt for dry beans — they're even cheaper.

2. They're high in fiber.

A single cup of boiled lima beans has 13.2 grams of fiber. If you're an adult woman, that's more than half your recommended daily fiber.

3. And they're low in fat.

We all need some fat in our diet to stay healthy, but scientists generally agree that foods naturally low in fat are good for you.

Beans make burritos excellent. Image via iStock.

4. Beans don't require much water to grow.

The production of one gram of bean protein uses about five gallons of water. In contrast, one gram of a starch protein (like rice) uses eight gallons of water, and one gram of beef protein uses 40 gallons of water. This can help farmers preserve water and can protect crops during a drought. Speaking of droughts...

5. Beans can be drought-resistant.

Scientists have recently developed strains of beans that mature faster and use even less water than typical bean crops (qualities that make them more resistant to drought). These strains are already in use in Uganda.

6. They can be heat-resistant, too.

20 years ago, a scientist in Colombia cross-bred the common bean with the tepary bean, which is much more tolerant of heat. Most common beans don't do well in temperatures that stay above 66 degrees, but the heat-resistant hybrid beans thrive. This means that as global temperatures rise, areas where beans can still grow won't shrink as drastically — in fact, bean-viable areas could even expand.

Green bean harvest. Image via iStock.

7. Beans are versatile.

Refried beans, hummus, lentil dumplings, bean burgers, bean brownies, chili, fudge, salsa, lentil soup, samosas, lentil sprouts, doughnuts, bean dip ... you get the idea.

8. And they're delicious.

Don't like hummus or green beans? See above. There's a type of bean dish out there for everyone.

9. Beans are high in iron.

A cup of boiled lentils has about 6.6 mg of iron — about a third of the recommended daily intake for an adult woman. Iron transports oxygen around the body.

10. They're good for your heart.

Remember all that fiber beans have? And all that fat they don't have? Scientists say these qualities help reduce cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease.

Beans and rice — a classic. Image via iStock.

11. And they're good for your digestion.

Another benefit to high-fiber foods: They "move you" and can help relieve constipation. Hey, that's not a bad thing!

12. Beans are even the subject of rhymes.

Beans, beans, they're good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you fart. The more you fart, the better you feel. So eat your beans with every meal!

13. They are high in zinc.

A single serving (2 tablespoons) of store-bought hummus has 0.55 mg of zinc. Come on, who doesn't love hummus? That's almost 7% of the daily recommended zinc for an adult woman. 7% from a couple spoonfuls of hummus!

Soybeans growing in Germany. Image via Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images.

14. Beans have a lot of protein.

A cup of canned black beans? 16 grams of protein. People who don't get enough protein risk a form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor, which is all too common in developing countries. Having access to inexpensive, protein-rich foods is a huge deal for people facing a limited food supply.

15. They're great nitrogen fixers.

More accurately, the bacteria that live on the roots of beans are great nitrogen fixers. This improves the quality of the soil and helps other plants thrive, even long after the beans are gone.

16. They come in many strains.

International seed gene banks hold about 40,000 bean varieties. This variability is a huge deal in a changing climate. Need a bean that tolerates a certain type of soil? A certain temperature or rain level? You've already got hundreds of strains to choose from, and conventional breeding allows scientists to combine and manipulate those traits.

Beans are a big deal for food security.

Let's recap: They're high in protein, they have a multitude of other health benefits, they can survive heat and drought while improving soil quality for future crops, and they're pretty inexpensive.

Sure, beans aren't going to solve the global food crisis on their own. But they're definitely going to be an important crop in the years — and growing conditions — to come. So next time you hear someone being negative about beans, you've got 16 new facts to choose from to change their mind.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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