Beans

WHY THEY MAKE THE LIST Yes, they're "the musical fruit," but that's only because of their high fiber content. They're associated with lower risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and even lower rates of colon and prostate cancers—there's a lot to be said for keeping the traffic moving down there.

YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW . . . The gas you get from bean consumption comes from complex carbs called oligosaccharides. According to my friend John Williams, **, "We don't have the particular enzymes in our digestive tracts needed to break down these sugars, so they just sit there fermenting in our gut, thus producing the unwanted side effects. Fortunately, soaking them with sodium bicarbonate—baking soda—causes a remarkable reduction in these sugars, and thus less methane." John adds that split peas and lentils don't produce as much gas, so you can spare the baking soda with them.

BEST OF THE BEST The category of beans, also called "legumes," includes peas, string beans, lentils, chickpeas (which sound more festive when you call them "garbanzos"), black beans, fava beans, pinto beans, navy beans, and probably a couple dozen more. They're all high in fiber and vegetable protein. That's not the best protein for building muscle, but it's good for you otherwise.

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