Legumes are edible seeds or pods, such as black beans, chickpeas, peas, and even peanuts, that grow from certain plants. When dried they are often referred to as pulses.
They make a good exchange for red meat because they contain many of the same nutrients, but fewer of the drawbacks.
One of the main advantages of legumes is that they don’t contain much saturated fat, unlike red meat. But they are a great choice based not only on what they lack, but what they contain. Legumes are a good source of plant protein, and they’re packed with other nutrients, such as folate, calcium, potassium, zinc, B vitamins, and antioxidants. They also contain lots of fiber, which can help you avoid constipation and may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
(Source: Harvard article)
The Mayo clinic adds that: Legumes are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. They are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber.
In “How Not to Die”, Doctor Greger recommends that as part of his recommended vegetable-based diet, everyone should eat THREE portions of legumes every day.
If that seems a lot, remember that we do have a fair amount of choice from: Beans, Peas, Chickpeas (and hummus), Baked beans, Peanuts, Lentils, Kidney beans, Black-eyed peas, and of course soy in food products and many forms, like soy milk, Tofu and Edamame.
So what do I do?
After moving towards a vegan diet, I do manage to eat a couple of portions of legumes each day, and I’ve found it not too difficult. As often as not I’ll have soy milk in my cereal or oats, and sometimes in tea and coffee, hummus as part of my lunch, and most days I’ll also have one of these somewhere in my meals or snacks:
Baked beans, Peanuts, Peanut butter, Refried beans, Tofu, Peas, Chickpeas, Green beans, Soy based food products like veggie sausages or veggie burgers.
Link to my post on “How Not to Die”
Link to my post on “Soy”