You’ve probably heard of legumes, but you might be wondering, “What are legumes?” The popular vegetables are packed with fiber and protein, along with other vitamins and minerals. Legumes benefits include the ability to promote healthy digestion, boost heart health, aid in weight loss and stabilize blood sugar levels. Whether you’re vegan. vegetarian or a meat-eater, legumes may be a beneficial addition to your diet.
What Are Legumes?
So exactly what are legumes? Legumes are defined as the fruit or seed of plants in the legume family that are used for food. There are thousands of different types of legumes, but some of the most common types include:
That may have answered your “What are legumes” question, but you may be wondering about the only nut variety on the list. Peanuts are considered a legume because they grow underground, unlike other nuts.
1. Provide the Body with Protein
So what are legumes good for? For starters, legumes benefits include the ability to provide the body with protein. Most legumes are packed with plant-based protein that may be especially beneficial to vegans and vegetarians. One cup of chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein, while on cup of white beans contains 19 grams of protein. Consuming protein can help keep you feel fuller longer and naturally boost metabolism function. (1)
2. Promote Regularity
Legumes benefits include the ability to promote regularity, thanks to the fiber they contain. Dietary fiber moves through the digestive tract at a slow pace, to help prevent constipation and encourage healthy digestion. Legumes benefits include about 64% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. (2)
3. Aid in Weight Loss
The high protein and fiber content in legumes benefits the body by aiding in weight loss. Legumes help promote a feeling of satiety to reduce hunger and overeating. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, participants who ate beans on a regular basis head a lower body weight, a smaller waist size and a 22% lower risk of obesity, compared to those who did not eat beans on a regular basis. Legumes benefits include the ability to provide the body with nutrients as a low-calorie food.
4. Boost Heart Health
Studies have shown that legumes benefits include the ability to protect the heart from disease. Eating legumes regularly can help decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Research has shown that legume consumption is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease. Legumes have the ability to help unclog arteries, reduce blood pressure and decrease inflammation in the body. (3)
5. Provide the Body with Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Legumes benefits include the ability to provide the body with important vitamins and minerals to boost overall health. They contains folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and potassium, among other nutrients.
6. Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
Legumes benefits include the ability to naturally stabilize blood sugar levels. They contain a high amount of fiber, which helps to slow the absorption of sugar the bloodstream to lower blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that legumes can be a healthy diet addition for those who struggle to keep their blood sugar stable. (4)