What are legumes you may ask? The dictionary definition is ‘a pod, such as that of a pea or bean, that splits into two valves with the seeds attached to one edge of the valves’ and this covers beans, peas, lentils, and even peanuts and cashews . Being vegetarian legumes make up the bulk of my diet, yet it is interesting to note that approximately only 22% of Australians eat them once a week. The main reason for those who do not eat them at all is mainly because they do not know how to prepare them, and also they do not know health benefits of consuming legumes. Legumes are a not only cost effective and nutritious and they are also simple to prepare and can be very delicious.
Legumes are full of fibre (both soluble and insoluble), B vitamins, and a range of minerals including iron, contain approximately 20-30% protein, and are low GI. Legumes can have a beneficial effect for weight management, they help you feel satisfied and help with appetite control, they also help the metabolism and due to their high fibre content may help reduce absorption of cholesterol from the gut.
Soaking and cooking legumes breaks down ‘anti-nutrients’ in the legumes, these are substances that make the raw uncooked legume indigestible. There are many varieties of legumes available in cans these days, which makes including legumes into your diet very easy, just ensure you rinse them thoroughly.