Legumes are basically a family of vegetables or plants that feature a pod with seeds inside it. These seeds are sometimes referred to as pulses or edible seeds. Legumes include peas, beans, peanuts, and lentils. The richness of legumes in vitamins and minerals is the top reason why legumes are commonly used in cooking or in making salads. Here are some of the health benefits of legumes that you need to know.
These groups of plants are known as excellent source of both protein and fiber. Protein is found in every cell of our bodies. As the building block of human body, protein is needed in various body processes. This is primarily because protein is the second most abundant chemical in the body next to water. It regulates metabolism and cell division. One cup of legumes, as among top sources of protein, contains 33% of the daily recommended allowance (DRA) for women and 27% DRA for men.
Aside from protein, legumes are also rich in fiber. Fiber is essential for the body to balance the blood sugar and lower the cholesterol level in our bloodstream. It also prevents constipation.
Legumes are also abundant with vitamins and minerals, which is why they are widely used in soups, salads, and smoothies.
For minerals, legumes hold significant quantity of iron, zinc, and magnesium. Iron is mainly tasked to transport oxygen through the red blood cells. Zinc, meanwhile, is involved in maintaining the health of both nervous and reproductive system. It also aids in supporting the body’s immune system. Moreover, magnesium is involved in the production of energy and in keeping the health of nerves, muscles, and bones.
For vitamins, legumes are generally rich in vitamins A, K, and B complex. While vitamin A promotes good eyesight, it also acts as an antioxidant that protects the cells from being damaged. Vitamin K finds importance by aiding blood clot and in maintaining bone health. Vitamin B complex as a group helps in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein so the body could use them as energy.
More dominant vitamin B components found in legumes include vitamin B1 and vitamin B6. Vitamin B1 or Thiamine is important for energy production and ensuring the health of the nerve system. Vitamin B6, on the other hand, is needed for the production of red blood cells.
This is also a great food choice for weight loss because most legumes contain only 190 to 299 calories per one cup serving.
The Amazing Health benefits of Legumes
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Legume is one of the healthiest family of vegetables ever existed. Legumes are very abundant with vitamins and minerals needed by the body for its optimal functioning. Consuming legumes is able to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. It is of utmost importance to keep cholesterol levels in check because excessive cholesterol damages the heart and triggers obesity.
Optimizes Heart Condition
As mentioned above, legumes have cholesterol reducing effects. This greatly benefits the heart because excessive cholesterol encourages oxidation. Oxidation is the process where LDL or bad cholesterols are produced causing the artery walls to weaken and also leads to improper blood flow. This causes blood clotting that can lead to stroke or worst heart attack. Consumption of legume reduces LDL cholesterol and boosts HDL cholesterol which is the good types. If you want to protect your heart from various heart ailments, adding legumes to your diet is of great help.
Regulates Glucose Levels in the Blood
It is essential to keep blood sugar level low to avoid diabetes and heart disorders. Legumes have very low glycemic index. It contains very low to none sugar amounts. Adding legumes to your diet especially if you have diabetes or you are highly exposed it due to family’s medical history is able to promote its prevention and treatment.
Legumes are rich in fiber that is needed by the body especially to perform its digestive activities. Fiber assures the proper breakdown of food intake for more efficient nutrient-absorption ability. Fiber also helps clear up the digestive tract so that the digestive process is carried on thoroughly. On top of that regular intake of fiber also stimulates proper bowel movement for regular and prompt waste elimination.
Prevents and Remedies Constipation
Digestive disorders just like constipation are avoided and can be treated by legume consumption. Fiber is a primary component of legume vegetables. A single serving can fill up to 50% of the daily fiber requirement of the body. If you always experience constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhea, you must find importance in increasing your legume intake.
Fibrous foods positively affect weight management. Fiber boosts satiety meaning its intake will make you feel full for hours. This way you can control further food intake to avoid overeating. Many dieticians would really recommend adding legume vegetables to weight loss diet programs because aside from its satiety boosting effects, it also regulates digestion thus assures the removal of toxins and also the prevention of fat formation in the body.
This is also another reason why legume consumption can promote weight loss. Legumes are very low in fat content. The fat it contains is the good type of fat called linoleic acid. This type of fat helps the heart to function accordingly. Legume is really a healthy food for the heart as well as to regulate proper weight.
Recommended for Pregnant Women
If you want to give birth to a perfectly healthy and sound child, eating legumes while pregnant can help with that. Legumes are concentrated with high levels of different types of vitamins and nutrients that can help normally develop the fetus inside a woman’s womb. Legumes are great sources if iron, folate, calcium, and zinc that are of great help for your baby. Bear in mind that during pregnancy, the body needs twice as much nutrients and vitamins to support the normal development of the baby. Legumes also have rich amounts of folate that prevents defects in the neural tube of the baby.
Contains High Amounts of Protein
Legumes are effective and healthier meat substitute because of its abundance in protein content. If you are trying to reduce meat intake because of the fact that they are high in cholesterol, getting used to eating legume vegetables is the key. Consuming legumes instead of meat will do your health so much good because legumes are cholesterol free, rich in vitamins and minerals, and does not have any saturated fat. Instead of indulging in too much meat, you can eat legumes instead.
Relieves Menopausal Symptoms
Menopausal stage causes so much discomfort and irregularities. Women who are under this stage experience drastic changes in their body. Consuming legumes is known to relieve the effects of menopause in women. Hot flashes, mood swings, and other menopausal symptoms will be alleviated.
Fights and Treats Allergies
Allergy with foods is commonly caused by the immune’s systems inability to be resilient with certain types of food. Generally, the body reacts when the immune system finds certain types of food as being harmful. Eating legumes can help in fighting and treating allergies because its antioxidants are able to optimize the immune system.