Legumes encompass the family of beans, peas and lentils. They are amongst the most versatile and nutritious of foods. Being a great source of insoluble and soluble fibre, they are great for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels as well as positively supporting general health. Legumes are a great source of potassium, magnesium and folate as well as iron and protein. They are therefore important for vegans and vegetarians.
Other Benefits of Legumes:
- Low glycaemic index;
- An important food in managing diabetes;
- High in protein;
- High in the B group vitamins;
- Low is saturated fat;
- Good source of antioxidants.
You can buy legumes at the supermarket or health food store. They come as dried or canned. Dried legumes need to be soaked before consumption.
Including legumes into your diet can be very simple. There are many ways to include legumes into your healthy eating plan and it does not mean you have to eat completely different meals.
Increasing or Adding Legumes into Your Diet:
- Add legumes to your soups, stews and casseroles;
- For dips and spreads, try pureeing beans;
- Add kidney beans, black beans or chickpeas to your salads and rice dishes.
- Many beans are interchangeable, so if the recipe calls for one type of bean that is not available, you can easily exchange it for another;
- Lentils, black-eyed peas and split peas do not need to be soaked;
- Canned legumes make a great substitute for dried legumes when you are in a hurry. It is important to rinse canned legumes in order to remove the sodium that may have been added during processing;
- Serve hummous with vegetable sticks or kale chips for a healthy snack;
- Baked beans make a healthy snack;
- When baking, substitute some of your wheat flour with lupin flour which will give you a high protein, higher fibre food.
Examples of legumes include:
- Kidney beans;
- Black-eyed beans;
- Baked beans;
- Split peas;
- Green, red or brown lentils.
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