The dried beans are beige with brown streaks, but they turn a uniform pinkish-brown when cooked. They're often used to make refried beans and chili. Before they are eaten, the raw beans must be boiled for at least ten minutes to degrade a toxic compound - the lectin phytohaemagglutinin - found in the bean which would otherwise cause severe gastric upset. Similarly to other beans, the common bean is high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate. It is the most common bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico, and is most often eaten whole in broth or mashed and refried. Either whole or mashed, it is a common filling for burritos. Beans are low in fat and loaded with nutrients, and we'd probably eat more of them if they weren't also loaded with flatulence-producing enzymes. There are ways to enjoy beans without having to forego social appointments, however. One is to change the water from time to time while you're soaking or cooking the beans. Pouring off the water helps gets rid of the indigestible complex sugars that create gas in your intestine. It also helps to cook the beans thoroughly, until they can be easily mashed with a fork. Most bean aficionados prefer dried beans, but canned beans are also available. These don't need to be cooked, but they tend to be saltier and less flavorful than reconstituted dried beans.