Include Legumes and Beans in a Healthy Diet

by OneGoodFoodBlog
Include Beans and Legumes in a Healthy Diet

What are Legumes?

Before we talk about, how to include Legumes and Beans in your diet, you need to know what legumes are. Legumes are plants or seeds. Legumes are a pod filled with dry seeds. They include a variety of dry beans, which can be eaten by people and animals. Grain legumes such as lentils and peas are called pulses. These varieties are mainly grown for human consumption and feed for livestock.

One half-cup serving of cooked legumes (unsalted) delivers a high percentage of protein per calorie. This percentage may vary per type of legume.


If you’re focused on building muscle, beans and legumes are a must-have food, because they are rich in protein. If you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you need beans and legumes for quality protein. High protein snacks and meals keep you feeling satisfied. High protein foods take longer to digest compared to foods with simple carbohydrates.

The energy you get from protein rich foods is released gradually throughout the day, without feeling the crash you’ll get after eating a sugary snack, which releases energy very fast.


Carbs are used for energy. Legumes and Beans contain soluble fiber. Soluble fiber delays gastric emptying, which means it can help to keep feeling us full. Fiber is very healthy, because it can also help us stay regular.

Beans and legumes are also filled with resistant starches, which do not get readily absorbed in the intestines. So they won’t cause spikes or drops in blood sugar levels.


Beans and Legumes are naturally low in fat. The way you prepare these veggies influence the fat content of your meal. The only exception are peanuts. Peanuts contain much higher levels of fat.


Beans and legumes can be consumed while on a gluten-free diet. If you avoid gluten, to stay away from certain digestive discomforts, you may experience some discomfort because of the gigh fiber content of some beans and legumes.


Given their high fiber content, people adhering to a low FODMAP diet are advised to limit, or even completely, avoid beans and legumes.


Smaller servings of beans and legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, are encouraged on many low-carb diets. All types of legumes and beans can be included in a low-carb diet, but how they are prepared and served can greatly influence their nutritional value.

Making beans with sugar or lard (such as in baked beans) will change the nutritional composition of the meal, making the naturally low-fat, low-sugar food higher in those nutrients. Similarly, soups such as split pea are traditionally prepared with fatback—a tasty but less healthy fat that is best enjoyed in moderation.

Another important exception is peanuts. While peanuts are, by nature, a legume you’ll have to count them as a nut if you’re following a low-carb diet. For example, the South Beach Diet allows for one serving (2 tablespoons) of natural peanut butter (with no added oil or sugar).

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