Legumes - Nature's Own Wonder Food

The Observer (Gladstone, Australia), September 20, 2008 | Go to article overview

Legumes - Nature's Own Wonder Food


WORKING as a nutritionist, I have noticed that many people, aside from enjoying the occasional meal of baked beans on toast, shy away from either trying or increasing the amount of legumes they consume in their diet.

This can be frustrating, as legumes offer not only a wide range of health benefits, but are also very cheap and easy to prepare.

What are they?

LEGUMES, also known as pulses, are a group of plant foods and include split peas, soy beans, chick-peas, red kidney beans, red, green and brown lentils and of course baked (or navy) beans.

They are often thought of as a meat substitute, as they provide a rich alternative source of protein.

However, unlike meat, legumes are also a rich source of carbohydrates and are also high in dietary fibre, the benefits of which I discussed in the previous article.

What else do they provide?

THE specific benefits of legumes will depend to some extent on the type consumed e.g. baked beans v chick peas.

However, as a general rule, legumes are high in B-group vitamins (including folate), iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium, are a good source of antioxidants and are low in fat. …

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