Five fundamental reasons to eat legumes

What are the benefits of eating legumes? The long days of confinement resulting from the pandemic made its popularity grow again: times when the stoves of many homes were turned on again and when homemade and traditional dishes returned to take care of our tables.

However, the consumption of legumes continues today far away (very far) from WHO recommendations. At Spain for example, according to 2020 data, the weekly average does not reach 1.5 servings per person, while it would be advisable to include 3 to 4.


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And it’s curious because, in fact, we have plenty of reasons to add this type of food to our diet… Sometimes we are fascinated by ‘the new fad food’; and if spirulina , and açaí and if matcha tea what if… granting them almost miraculous superpowers, and we forget that much closer (and for much less money) we have real treasures like chickpeas -chickpeas, lentils, peas, broad beans…

may not have as much glam or powerful marketing campaigns behind it, but it must be the little that these amazing seeds lack, an essential part of human nutrition since time immemorial (the first agricultural productions date from the period between 7000 BC and 8000 BC).

ADVANTAGE 1: FRIENDS OF HEALTH AND SCALE

  • Magnificent source of protein. When we think of protein, often the first thing that comes to mind is meat, fish, eggs… However, pulses are also a great source of protein (about 20-25% of their weight). “Yes, but they are not complete proteins”, you often hear. This is not true, or not: within legumes there are some varieties, such as chickpeas or certain beans, which by themselves have these ‘complete proteins’ (those who contain all essential amino acids in its composition in sufficient quantities). In the case of legumes that do not have all these amino acids, they can be combined in cereal recipes, so that we already obtain that desired protein quality.
  • Low in fat and ‘zero’ cholesterol. This makes legumes help us control weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Low sodium intake. That’s why they also help to control hypertension problems.
  • Low glycemic index. They help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels, making them ideal foods to fight diabetes problems.
  • Great source of fiber and minerals. Fiber is a good ally for digestive health and also helps us feel fuller for longer.
  • Without gluten. This feature also makes them a great alternative for people with celiac disease.

ADVANTAGE 2: FRIENDS OF ‘ZERO WASTE’

Another of the great advantages of legumes is their storage capacity for months without losing their nutritional or organoleptic properties. That means we can have them year-round in the pantry, regardless of seasonality . Thus, they become a very practical product that we can always throw away, especially if we are talking about canned vegetables, and that rarely end up in the trash ahead of time (as often happens with fresh products).

ADVANTAGE 3: POCKET FRIENDS

If we compare their price with meat or fish, legumes are usually more affordable. Something especially interesting for families with fewer resources. And is that legumes allow us to prepare countless rich and healthy dishes without leaving our pockets in the attempt.


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ADVANTAGE 4: FRIENDS OF THE PLANET

  • They improve soil fertility and combat the greenhouse effect. Legumes have two other ‘superpowers’, in this case related to their cultivation: on the one hand, their ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen into compounds that can be used by growing plants, as well as their ability to release phosphorus, which also plays a role. an important role in plant nutrition. Both factors help to increase organic matter, biomass and microbial activity in the soil, improving its structure. In turn, this makes them less dependent on synthetic fertilizers, the overuse of which is linked to the emission of greenhouse gases.
  • They need much less water for their production than meat. The data in this regard leave no room for doubt. So, for example, to produce one kilo of lentils, 1,250 liters of water are needed, while to produce one kilo of chicken, 4,325 liters are needed; for a kilo of lamb, 5,520 liters, and for a kilo of beef, 13,000 liters. In fact, it’s not just that they need less water; is that there are some legume varieties that can even be grown in semi-arid soils.
  • Allies against climate change. As if the advantages were few, legumes have another peculiarity: their wide genetic diversity. What this means? Well, you can select varieties that best adapt to the climate. Heat stress is one of the biggest threats to some crops, and work is already underway to develop ‘improved’ varieties capable of growing in environments with predicted higher temperatures.

ADVANTAGE 5: FRIENDS OF THE PALATE

There are cuisines whose most popular and traditional cookbook would not be understood without legumes. From beans, indispensable in numerous dishes in Latin America, to chickpeas, for example, for the preparation of recipes such as hummus in the Middle East, to Dal of Indian lentils… the list is endless. In Spain they are essential for the preparation of many spoon recipes: stews , fabadas

But, of course, the versatility that legumes offer us in the kitchen goes far beyond the classic kitchen. We love to use less strong dishes; salads, appetizers…

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About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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