Articles & Recipes

The Health Benefits of Legumes

August 10, 2018

Legumes Are Very Good for You

Many major health organizations agree that legumes can play a key role in our efforts to prevent chronic diseases. Research has shown that people with a healthy lifestyle who regularly consume legumes as part of a nutritious diet are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Eating more legumes may also help you to lose weight and keep it off.

While the exact recommendations vary, health organizations recommend that people eat more legumes — up to 3 cups (750 mL) per week. Eating this quantity may reduce the possibility that you will develop metabolic syndrome: a cluster of risk factors such as increased belly fat and high blood pressure, as well as elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and blood sugar, all of which have been linked to heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Additionally, legumes contain various nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber. These include a type of non-digestible fiber called oligosaccharides, which act as a prebiotic, or a food source for the healthy bacteria that live in your digestive system. By consuming more prebiotic fiber, you can help to ensure that you have enough healthy bacteria to keep your digestive system on track.

 

Nutrients in Legumes

Although the nutrient content varies among the different types of lentils, dried beans, chickpeas and peas, all these foodstuffs share some common nutritional characteristics. A typical serving of legumes is high in dietary fiber, a good source of low?fat vegetable protein, and low in both sugar and sodium. All provide valuable micronutrients in varying degrees.

 These include:

     the B vitamins thiamin (B1) and folate;

     minerals such as potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc and phosphorus; and

     phytonutrients such as antioxidants.

~ Excerpted from 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes


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