What's So Great About Eating Legumes?

Colander of White Beans

What’s so great about legumes? That’s an excellent question to ask. If you want to cut down on the amount of meat you eat, this class of vegetables is right for you. Some of the best legumes you can consume include lentil, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, peanuts, kidney beans and black beans. Dried peas also fall into this category. They work well in pasta and lettuce salads and soups or chili, and you can use them in many instances where you would have otherwise used chicken, beef, pork, etc.

In addition to protein, legumes provide you with iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate without all the extra calories. Furthermore, the fiber in them helps them pass through your body quicker than meat. Thus, they work well for regulating your digestive system. Along with fruits and vegetables, legumes can clean you out. When used in the proper proportions along with the fruits and vegetables you eat, they provide you with plenty of nutrients. Just beware that you still need the kind of B12 that comes from animals to help prevent anemia, because this nutrient helps produce red blood cells.

If you don’t eat meat at all, you can also take a B12 supplements to ensure you receive this important nutrient. Even then, you have to make sure it is the “methylcobalamin” form of B12 and not the cyanocobalamin form found in most vitamin supplements today. Unfortunately, most plants except for dried purple laver (nori) do not contain methylcobalamin. It’s mostly found in animal foods such as eggs, red meat, shellfish, and dairy products. Legumes are also rich in essential nutrients that have an antioxidant effect such as vitamin C, copper, selenium. They also contain phytochemicals such as saponins and inositol that are thought to decrease the risk of lung, blood, and colorectal cancers.



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