Advantages, disadvantages, ways to eat them

Legumes include beans, lentils, and green peas and are a healthy addition to any diet. Research indicates that their health benefits include lower risk of chronic disease and obesity, and that they may help control blood pressure and cholesterol.

Some people don’t know what constitutes a legume, bean, or legume, and many don’t include them regularly in their diet. However, pulses aren’t just for people on plant-based diets, they can be beneficial for everyone.

Additionally, someone may be concerned that beans and legumes will cause gas and bloating, or may not know how to soak and cook them.

In this article, we define legumes and explain the different types. We look at the health benefits and discuss how to overcome cons like antinutrients and gas. Additionally, we provide a Nutritional Profile for Common Beans and Lentils, and tips for soaking, cooking and eating them.

Legumes are plants in the Fabaceae Where Legumes family that grows in pods. This family of edible plants includes the common bean Phaseolus vulgaris and its seeds or unripe fruits, which people commonly call beans or legumes. Legumes also include lentils which are the seeds of the plant Lens culinaris.

People eat the immature pods of legumes before the seeds are ripe. Examples include green beans, snow peas, and snow peas.

The edible seed in a legume pod is what people call the pulse. Legumes can include beans, lentils, and green peas.

Manufacturers dry the seeds and beans of legumes, and people buy them as dried or canned beans and lentils.

Additionally, people can consume fresh legumes such as green peas and broad beans. However, consuming raw or dried beans can have adverse health effects, and some beans are very poisonous, so people need to soak or cook them first.

Here is a list of common legumes:

Beans

People generally refer to the larger fruits of legumes like beans and usually buy them in fresh, dried, or canned form.

  • Red bean
  • black bean
  • azuki bean
  • black bean
  • navy bean
  • pinto bean
  • cannellini bean
  • flageolet bean
  • borlotti bean
  • chickpeas (chickpeas)
  • lima bean
  • bean
  • pigeon peas
  • split peas

Lentils

Lentils are the smallest seeds of the Lens culinaris pulses, and people buy them as dried or canned products.

  • red lentils
  • green lentils
  • brown lentils
  • lentils from the puy
  • beluga lentils
  • yellow lentils

Other legumes

In addition, green peas, peanuts and soybeans are part of the legume family. However, although they grow in pods and are the fruit of the legume, people generally refer to these foods by other names.

For example, most people would qualify green peas as a vegetable, peanuts as tree nuts, and soybeans as soybeans when processed.

However, immature soy beans or edamame beans are beans that people buy and use in the same way as other beans, whether they are fresh, canned, or dried.

Legumes provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and phytochemicals.

In addition, they are naturally low in fat and have a glycemic index (GI) generally between 10 and 40. Foods high in fiber and low GI can help regulate blood sugar and energy.

Additionally, legumes provide a healthy source of complex carbohydrates and protein and are a daily staple in plant-based diets. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that everyone include beans, peas, and lentils in their diet, not just people on a plant-based diet.

Two reviews on the health benefits of pulses in 2015 and 2021 note that legumes are part of several healthy diets, including:

The potential health benefits of eating legumes, according to the same reviews, are:

  • a lower risk of developing diabetes and better blood sugar and lipid control in people with diabetes
  • lower total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels
  • weight control and less risk of obesity
  • blood pressure reductions
  • lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • microbiome diversity
  • immune support

Here are the nutrient profiles of some common legumes.

Lentils

A cup of boiled lentils includes the following nutrients:

  • 230 calories
  • 17.9 g of protein
  • 39.8 g of carbohydrates
  • less than a gram of fat
  • 15.6 g of fiber
  • 358 micrograms (mcg) of folate
  • 71.3 mg of magnesium
  • 37.6 mg of calcium
  • 6.59 mg iron

White beans

A cup of boiled white beans contains the following nutrients:

  • 255 calories
  • 15 g of protein
  • 47.3 g of carbohydrates
  • 1.13 g of fat
  • 19.1 g of fiber
  • 96.6 mg of magnesium
  • 126 mg of calcium
  • 4.3 mg of iron

Chickpeas

A cup of boiled chickpeas contains the following nutrients:

  • 269 ​​calories
  • 14.5 g of protein
  • 44.9 g of carbohydrates
  • 4.25 g of fat
  • 12.5 g of fiber
  • 78.7 mg of magnesium
  • 80.4 mg of calcium
  • 4.74 mg iron

Despite the health benefits of eating legumes, some people may want to consider some downsides when including legumes in their diet.

Antinutrients

Legumes contain compounds that some people call antinutrients. These compounds protect the plant against the consumption of animals or insects and against infections.

However, when humans eat foods containing these compounds, they can bind to essential minerals and prevent the body from absorbing them.

For this reason, some people are concerned that beans and lentils cause mineral deficiency in people who consume them regularly.

The compounds in question include phytates and lectins. In addition, soy contains phytoestrogens, which experts suggest may be beneficial for menopause symptoms. However, they also come with an increased risk of hormonal cancers.

However, a 2020 review concluded that the beneficial effects of including foods containing so-called antinutrients outweigh the adverse effects. The authors further note that soaking, cooking and fermenting can reduce levels and that some compounds may have beneficial effects.

Flatulence

Beans contain complex carbohydrates called oligosaccharides which can cause bloating and gas in some people.

However, the US Dry Bean Council suggests that when people get used to eating beans once or twice a week, their gas decreases.

Additionally, they advise using the hot soaking method detailed below and using fresh water for cooking to reduce compounds that can cause digestive upset.

Dried beans need to be soaked, and the best method, according to some sources, including The Bean Institute, is the hot soaking method. This method reduces cooking time, makes the beans tender, and decreases compounds that can cause gas or gas.

Before soaking, all debris from the dried beans should be removed and they should be rinsed with cold water.

To soak beans using the hot soak method:

  1. Place the beans in a large pot with 10 cups of water per 2 cups of beans.
  2. Heat the beans to a boil and boil for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, cover the pot and let stand 4 hours.
  4. Drain the beans, discarding the soaking water.
  5. Rinse the beans under running cold water.

Someone should cook the beans for 30 minutes to 2 hours after soaking, depending on the variety.

Other legumes such as red lentils don’t require soaking, and canned beans and legumes are ready to eat, and people can heat them or eat them right from the can.

Someone can try including beans and legumes in salads, dahls, or ready meals such as casseroles and curries. Mixing beans with herbs and spices can produce a healthy and tasty dip, like hummus, a spicy pinto bean dip, or a bean and mint dip.

Legumes include green peas, beans, and lentils, and people can buy them fresh, dried, or canned. Low in fat and low GI, legumes are a source of protein, fiber and phytonutrients.

Plus, they contain various essential vitamins and minerals and are a healthy addition to any diet.

The potential health benefits of pulses include a lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol control.

People can reduce antinutrients and compounds that cause gas by using the proper soaking and cooking methods. Legumes can be included in salads, meals, and dips.

About Keith Johnson

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