Legumes are plants with seed pods that split into two halves. Edible seeds from plants in the legume family include beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts.
Beans, also known as legumes, should be included in all kinds of diet, as they are loaded with nutrients. In fact, legumes are also referred to as “a poor person’s meat”, though in truth, they are actually much healthier than most varieties of meat in several ways.
Being very high in protein and one of the best sources of soluble fiber, legumes are a staple food in cuisines from all over the world. Moreover, there are several different varieties of legumes, which are usually classified as peas, beans or lentils. Some of the most commonly consumed legumes include soy bean, pinto beans, lima beans, red beans, black eyed peas, chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), dhal, moong and so on.
Studies show that women who eat importance of legumes, like soy bean, regularly, are less likely to develop breast cancer in comparison to others. Moreover, most legume varieties are high in iron. They boost the iron stores in women who are menstruating & may be at a risk for iron deficiency.
Legumes Nutrition Facts
Most health experts advise people to include a fair amount of legumes in their diet, mainly because this food type is high in several important nutrients.
- Most legumes, like lentils and beans are high in selenium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and folate.
- Certain varieties of beans, like soy bean, are packed with an anti-inflammatory compound known as saponins. This compound lowers the cholesterol levels, boosts the immune system and protects the body against cancer. However, cooking beans excessively destroys the saponins present in them.
- For those who are vegetarian, legumes are the best forms of protein. Unlike meat, most legumes are low in cholesterol and fat, which is why they are much healthier in comparison.
- The flavonoid content in some beans like garbanzo, work as estrogen and help relieve the symptoms of menopause in women
- There is a significant amount of fiber present in legumes, because of which they improve digestion. Other nutrients that are found in legumes include vitamins, iron, starch and lime. see more
Legumes contain other health-promoting substances that may also protect against cancer:
- Lignans and saponins
- Resistant starch, starch not digested in the small intestine, is used by healthful bacteria in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids, which seem to protect colon cells.
- Antioxidants from a variety of phytochemicals, including triterpenoids, flavonoids, inositol, protease inhibitors and sterols.