Top Legumes For Vegan and vegetarian Diets

Almost everyone has heard of legumes, perhaps even tried them, but there are very few people who know how beneficial they can be when eaten as part of a balanced diet. Vegetables packed full of protein and fibre, as well as a vast array of vitamins and minerals, they’re incredibly low in calories and a staple of vegan and vegetarian diets for people across the globe.

In case you’re unsure of exactly what they are, let’s break it down: legumes are the seeds or fruits from plants belonging to the Fabaceae family, which includes an incredible 19,500 different species. This obviously prohibits us from listing all of them for you, but if you’re wondering about which ones you’re likely to have encountered, you’ll probably be familiar with the following:

  • Alfalfa
  • Chickpeas
  • Green beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Navy beans
  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Soybeans

Legumes are packed with protein

If you’re wondering why legumes should be a staple of your diet, the answer lies in the many benefits they can offer, first and foremost an exceptionally high protein content. They are one of the best plant-based sources of this around, with chickpeas alone offering 15 grams per serving. As protein is crucial for cellular function and muscle growth, eating them is most certainly to your advantage.

Legumes help to keep your bowels healthy

As well as being high in protein, legumes are also packed full of fibre, with up to 64 percent of your daily recommended intake found in a single cup of cooked lentils. This material moves through your digestive tract slowly, adding bulk to your stools to aid in their efficient passage. This is especially helpful for those who are prone to constipation, as it can get your bowels moving properly again in next to no time.

Eating legumes can aid weight loss

Legumes can also be a useful addition to the diets of those who are hoping to lose a little weight. High in both protein and fibre, they can help to make you feel full and efficiently ward off hunger, so that you find it easier to regulate your intake and avoid overindulging. Although they’re nutrient dense and filling, they’ll still ensure that you get everything you need in your diet, as they’re packed to the brim with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Legumes will help to keep your heart healthy

As if this were not enough, legumes have the added boon of helping to keep your heart healthy. According to numerous studies, diets that are rich in them have the effect of decreasing your cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart disease, and lessening inflammation in the body, ensuring that you stay fighting fit and feeling great.

Legumes are packed full of important vitamins and minerals

If you needed any more reason to make sure that legumes were included in your diet, you might also like to know that they’re filled to the brim with vitamins and minerals. High in micronutrients including folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium, they’re a great way to keep your body in top shape and make sure that all of its needs are properly met.

Legumes stabilise blood sugar

Finally and impressively, legumes can be very useful in helping to regulate your blood sugar too, due to the excessive amounts of fibre they contain.

What are you waiting for? Increase your intake of legumes ASAP and get ready to reap the rewards.

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