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Why Should You Eat Beans and Legumes? - 9 Important Health Benefits

Why Should You Eat Beans and Legumes? - 9 Important Health Benefits

Introduction

Beans and legumes are affordable food items that are beneficial for a healthy heart. Apart from richness in protein, beans and legumes are also very good sources of potassium, iron, and fiber. You can include to your diet any of the several moong beans, dals, split peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed beans, and many more. Eating beans and legumes as part of your healthy diet and lifestyle can help improve cholesterol levels, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, beans tend help you feel full for an extended period of time, helping your efforts to lose weight.

Nutritional facts

Nutritional facts vary from one kind of bean to the other. But, for instance, 1 cup (171 gms) of boiled pinto beans have:

Fat: 1 gram

Protein: 15 grams

Fiber: 15 grams

Carbs: 45 grams

Calcium: 8% of the Daily Value (DV)

Iron: 20% of the DV

Magnesium: 21% of the DV

Potassium: 21% of the DV

Phosphorous: 25% of the DV

Folate: 74% of the DV

On the other hand, legumes contain a unique dietary profile and are a rich source of protein and fiber. Take for instance, 1 cup of lentils (cooked) provide:

Protein: 18 grams

Calories: 230

Carbs: 40 grams

Fiber: 16 grams

Potassium: 16% of the DV

Iron: 37% of the DV

Magnesium: 17% of the DV

Folate: 90% of the DV

9 Important Health Benefits of beans and legumes

Beans and legumes provide several health benefits. Here is a list of nine key ones:

1. Rich in Folate

Folate is necessary for a person’s overall health, it also plays a vital role in a healthy pregnancy. Folate helps prevent neural tube deficiencies in a fetus during pregnancy and is required to develop healthy red blood cells. One cup (177 grams) of cooked kidney beans contains 131 mcg of folate.

2. High in Protein


Beans are very rich in amino acids, the building blocks of protein. However, all types of beans, but soybeans contain all the nine amino acids required from food to make a complete protein. To make beans and legumes a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians, add them with cereals to get a complete protein. Beans make a great protein source for vegans and vegetarians. They are also lower in calories and saturated fat compared to other animal protein sources like dairy and meats. Half a cup of cooked chickpeas or black beans provides 8 gms of protein. For instance, 40 grams of canned black beans give 14.5 grams of protein, while 155 grams of shelled edamame beans give 18.5 grams of protein.

3. Antioxidants source

Antioxidants help remove the free radicals, which are dangerous chemicals that the body produces during metabolism and other processes. Free radicals can damage the cells, which can result in divers diseases. Beans are rich in polyphenols, which is an antioxidant. In this way, beans help shield the body against infections.

4. Heart health


People who regularly include beans in their diet are at a lower risk of cardiovascular problems or heart attacks. According to a recent study, it has been proved that a reason for the decrease in cardiovascular risk was that individuals had replaced high-fat meats with beans as a source of protein. Other research recommends that fibre in beans might assist help in reducing cholesterol. An enhanced level of bad cholesterol is usually linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and heart disease.

5. Diabetes and glucose metabolism

Beans and legumes can also stabilize blood glucose levels. They possess a high fiber content, which reduces blood glucose. Experts say that consuming a high fiber diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes as well as to control sugar for the diabetics.

6. Decreased risk of cancer

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of beans and legumes can reduce cancer risk. According to some expert reports, eating a few servings of beans every week can increase fiber intake and lowers the risk of developing cancer. Moreover, beans are Protease Inhibitors. They discharge substances known as proteases that eliminate the nearby cells, which help in preventing growth. Additionally, it also slows down the cancer cell division. The types of cancer controlled by beans/legumes are prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, renal cancer, and gastric cancer.

7. Prevent fatty liver

Fatty liver happens when fats accumulates in the liver. It can build up alongside high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, and other metabolic syndrome aspects. The treatment of fatty liver disease attaches to weight loss and control of blood sugar, fat such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides, or bad cholesterol. Interchanging higher fat animal proteins with beans is an excellent step towards better liver health.

8. Enhance gut health

Researches have shown various beans, especially black beans, improve gut health by enhancing intestinal barrier function and enhancing the number of beneficial bacteria. This might assist in reducing the occurrence of gut-associated sicknesses. Healthy gut bacteria also helps improve immune system function and might help in weight loss.

9. Controlling appetite

When you eat beans, the high fiber content and the presence of healthy carbohydrates can induce a sensation of satisfaction and fullness. As a long-term dietary tactic, this can help stop overeating or overfeeding and might result to weight loss.

2 Healthy recipes with beans/legumes

1. Barley lentil and vegetable soup


Barley is a great source of protein, iron and fibre and tastes good too, if cooked with flavourful ingredients as in this broth. The addition of lentils/masoor gives a complete protein for vegetarians.

Ingredients:

1 tsp oil

1 tbsp finely chopped garlic

1/3 cup finely chopped spring onions, green chopped separately

2 tbsp pearl barley, soaked for 2 hours and drained

2 tbsp whole lentils/masoor, soaked for 2 hours and drained

1/4 cup finely chopped carrots

Salt to taste

1/4 cup finely chopped colored peppers – red, yellow, green

1/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp chopped coriander

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper powder

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice.

Method:

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the garlic and the spring onion whites and sauté on a medium flame till the onions turn translucent.

Add the barley, masoor, and carrots, mix well and sauté on a medium flame for another minute.

Add 4½ cups of hot water and salt, mix well, and pressure cook on a high flame for 3 to 4 whistles.

Add the spring onion greens, tomatoes, peppers, coriander, and pepper, mix well and simmer for a minute, stirring once in between.

Just before serving, add the lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot.

2. Kidney bean patties with cucumber yogurt sauce

Ingredients

  • Rajma/kidney beans 1 cup soaked overnight
  • Onion 1 finely chopped
  • Carrot 1 grated
  • Green chilly 2 chopped
  • Jeera powder 1 tsp.
  • Red chilly powder 1 tsp.
  • Garam masala powder 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder 1 tsp.
  • Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp.
  • Salt to taste (1tsp.)
  • Oats 2 tbsp. for binding the patty
  • Coriander leaves 1 tbsp
  • oil 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice 1 tsp

Method

  • Soak the rajma overnight, or at least 8 hours. And then pressure cook them till they are completely cooked.
  • Remove the excess water and mash them well. Mix with the rest of other ingredients except oil. Keep aside for 2 mins. Roll them into a round shape. Heat a non stick tawa and brush with oil, fry the patties till brown on both sides. Serve with cucumber yogurt sauce.

Cucumber yogurt sauce

  • 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup grated cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry dill
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • salt to taste
  • Mix all ingredients and serve chilled.

Summary

Legumes and beans are good sources of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, and several other important nutrients. There are evidential studies that they can help reduce blood sugar, enhance cholesterol levels, and maintain a healthy gut. Eating more legumes and beans as a major source of protein rather than meat is also environmentally friendly. Include them to stews, soups, and salads, or just eat them on their own for a wholesome vegetarian meal

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. What is the differentiation between legumes and beans?

A. In a simple statement — all beans are legumes, but not all legumes are beans. Legumes are seed pods of the Fabaceae plant family. They include beans, pulses, and peas.

Q. Which beans and legumes are low in net carbs?

A. Tofu, moong beans, soybeans, broad beans, lentils, great northern beans, black-eyed peas, limas, black beans, and navy beans are all low in net carbs.

Q. Is it better to eat green beans cooked or raw?

A. Uncooked green beans may result in diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and bloating due to their lectin content. It is best to eat cooked green beans. Cooking neutralizes their lectins and also improves their digestibility, taste, and antioxidant content.

Q. How are peanuts legumes?

A. Peanut is a legume. Like lentils, soybeans, and other legumes, peanuts are edible seeds that develop in pods.

Q. Why are beans and legumes eaten together?

A. Legumes and beans are complete sources of protein on their own. Moreover, they taste delicious when they are cooked together and increase the nutrition level of the dish.

Kindly drop your comments if you find this article useful or you have some delicious beans/legumes recipes you would like to share. THANK YOU!

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