Legumes: Introduction, Types, Health Benefits, Nutritional Value, and More


Legumes are foods like beans, lentils, and green peas. Studies show they’ve good for your health, reducing the chance of getting sick a lot and becoming overweight. They can also help keep your blood pressure and high cholesterol level in check. Some people might not know exactly what legumes, beans or pulses are, and they might not eat them often. But these foods aren’t just for vegetarians, they’re good for everyone. Some folks worry that eating beans and pulses will make them feel gassy or bloated, or they might not know how to prepare them properly. In this article, we’ll explain what legumes are and talk about the different kinds. We’ll look at why they’re good for you and discuss how to deal with any issues like stuff that’s not so good for you in them and feeling gassy. For more research you can also visit Wikipedia.

What are Legumes?

Legumes are plants that belong to the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family and grow in pods. Some well-known legumes include common beans like Phaseolus vulgaris, which we often call beans or pulses, and lentils from the Lens culinaris plant. People often eat the pods of legumes before the seeds inside are fully grown. Examples of these include French beans, mange tout, and sugar snap peas. The seeds found insight into the pods are what we call pulses. Pulses can be beans, lentils, or green peas. The seeds and beans of legumes are dried by manufacturers and sold to people either dried or canned. Some legumes, like green peas and fava beans, can be eaten fresh. However, eating beans in their raw or dried form can be bad for your health, and some beans are very poisonous, so they need to be soaked or cooked before eating.

What is the Type of Legumes?

Here are some common types of legumes. Such as:


Most often people call the bigger fruits of legumes plants “beans” and buy them fresh, dried, or canned. Here are some types of beans.

  • Kidney bean
  • Black bean
  • Adzuki bean
  • Black Eye bean
  • Navy bean
  • Pinto bean
  • Cannellini bean
  • Flageolet bean
  • Borlotti bean
  • Garbanzo bean (also called chickpea)
  • Lime bean
  • Fava bean
  • Pigeon bean
  • Split bean


Lentils are the tiny seeds of the Lens culinaris plant, and you can buy them dried or canned. Here are some types of lentils:

  • Red lentils
  • Green lentils
  • Brown lentils
  • Put lentils
  • Beluga lentils
  • Yellow lentils

Other Legumes:

Also green peas, peanuts, and soybeans belong to the legumes family. Even though they grow in pods and are technically fruits of the legumes plant, people often call them by different names. For instance, most folks consider green peas a vegetable, peanuts, a nut and soybeans just “soy” in their processed forms. However, when soybeans are still young and haven’t fully matured, they’re called edamame beans. People buy and use them like other beans fresh, canned or dried.

What are the Health Benefits of Legumes?

Legumes offer a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and plant compounds that are good for you. They’re also low in fat and have a glycemic index (GI) usually between 10 and 40, which helps balance blood sugar and energy levels. Furthermore, legumes are a great source of complex carbs and protein, making them a common part of plant based diets. But it’s not just vegetarians who should eat them; the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests everyone include beans, peas, and lentils in their diet. Research from 2015 to 2021 shows that legumes are beneficial for various diets, including the Mediterranean diet, vegan diet and vegetarian diets, the DASH Diet, and low GI diets. These studies suggests that eating legumes may:

  • Lower the risk of diabetes and help manage blood sugar and cholesterol in people with diabetes.
  • Reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Help with weight management and decrease the risk of obesity.
  • Lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. 
  • Promote a diverse gut microbiome.
  • Support the immune system.

What are the Nutritional Value of Legumes?

The following are nutritional values for some common legumes:


  • 230 calories
  • 17.9 g protein
  • 39.8 g carbohydrates
  • Less than a gram of fat
  • 15.6 g fiber
  • 358 micrograms (mcg) folate
  • 71.3 mg magnesium
  • 37.6 mg calcium
  • 6.59 mg iron

Navy Beans:

One cup of boiled navy beans contains the following nutrients:

  • 255 calories
  • 15 g protein
  • 47.3 g carbohydrates
  • 1.13 g fat
  • 19.1 g fiber
  • 96.6 mg magnesium
  • 126 g calcium
  • 4.3 g iron

Garbanzo Beans:

One cup of boiled garbanzo beans contains the following nutrients:

  • 269 calories
  • 14.5 g protein
  • 44.9 g carbohydrates
  • 4.25 g fat
  • 12.5 g fiber
  • 78.7 mg magnesium
  • 80.4 mg calcium
  • 7.74 mg iron

What are the Drawbacks of Legumes?

While legumes offer numerous health benefits, there are a few drawbacks that some people might want to think about before adding them to their diet.


Legumes contain compounds known as antinutrients, which help protect the plant from pests and infections. However, when people eat these foods, antinutrients can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. Some worry that regularly eating beans and lentils could lead to mineral deficiencies due to these compounds. The main ones to watch out for are phytates and lectins. Soybeans also contain phytoestrogens, which some experts say might help with menopause symptoms but could increase the risk or certain cancers. However, a review from 2020 found that the positive effects of eating foods with antinutrients outweigh the negative ones. The authors suggest that methods like soaking, cooking, and fermentation can reduce antinutrient levels, and some of these compounds might even have beneficial effects.


Beans contain complex carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides, which can lead to bloating and gas for some individuals. However, the U.S. Dry Bean Council suggests that as people gradually incorporate beans into their diet, eating them once or twice a week, their body tends to adjust, reducing the likelihood of flatulence. Additionally, they recommended using the hot-soak method and fresh water for cooking to help reduce compounds that may cause digestive discomfort.

How to Prepare and Eat Legumes?

Dried beans require soaking, and one of the recommended methods, according to sources like The Beans Institute, is the hot soak method. This approach helps shorten cooking time, ensures tender beans, and reduces the compounds that may cause gas. Here’s how to use the hot soak method:

  • Before soaking, remove any debris from the dried beans and rinse them under cold running water.
  • Place the beans to a boil and let them boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and let it sit for 4 hours.
  • Drain the beans, discarding the soaking water.
  • Rinse the beans under fresh cold running water.

After soaking, cook the beans for 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the variety. Unlike beans, some pulses like red lentils don’t need soaking, and canned beans and pulses are ready to eat. They can be heated or eaten straight from the can. You can include beans and pulses in various dishes like salads, dahls, or one-pot meals such as casseroles and curries. Mixing beans with herbs and spices can create delicious dips like hummus, spicy pinto bean dip, or fava bean and mint dip.

What to Know About Lectins?

Foods containing lectins, like legumes and grains are usually cooked before eating. Despite containing lectins, these foods are rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which offer numerous health benefits. The positive effects of these nutrients outweigh any potential negative effects from trace amounts of lectins. Lectins are a group of proteins found in many foods, particularly legumes and grains. Some people argue that lectins can increase gut permeability and contribute to autoimmune diseases. While certain lectins can indeed be harmful if consumed excessively, cooking effectively removes them. So, although lectins are present in foods, the risk they pose to health is minimal after cooking.

What are Lectins?

Lectins are a diverse group of proteins that bind to carbohydrates, found in both plants and animals. While animal lectins have various roles in normal bodily functions, the functions of plant lectins are less clear. However, they appear to help plants defend against insects and other herbivores. Some plant lectins can even be toxic. For example, ricin, a lectin from the castor oil plant is extremely poisonous and can be lethal. While most foods contain some amount of lectins, plant-based foods tend to have higher levels. Legumes like beans, soybeans, and peanuts contain the most plant lectins, followed by grains and plants in the nightshade family.

Some Lectins Can be Very Harmful For Your Health:

Just like with other animals, humans can struggle to digest lectins. These proteins are tough and resist being broken down by your body’s digestive enzymes, often passing through your stomach without change. While lectins found in edible plants are usually not harmful to health, there have been many claims regarding the potential risks associated with lectins:

  • Impaired nutrient absorption
  • Increased intestinal permeability
  • Altered gut bacteria
  • Immune system stimulation

Cooking Degrades Most of the Lectins in Your Diets:

Supporters of the paleo diet argue that lectins are harmful, suggesting that people should eliminate legumes and grains from their diet. However, it’s important to note that cooking effectively removes lectins. In fact, boiling legumes in water can eliminate nearly all lectin activity. For instance, while raw red kidney beans may contain 80,000 -100,000 hemagglutinating units (HAU) per gram, cooked beans have less than 400, a significant reduction. Research has shown that lectins in soybeans can be mostly eliminated by boiling them for just 5 – 10 minutes. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have differing recommendations on how to reduce lectins in beans. The WHO suggests soaking dried beans for at least 12 hours and then boiling them vigorously for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the FDA recommends soaking dried beans in water for at least 5 hours, followed by 30 minutes of boiling in freshwater. However, it’s unnecessary to avoid legumes solely due to lectin activity in their raw form, as these foods are typically cooked before consumption.

What to Know About Plant Based Diet?

A plant based diet centers around foods derived from plants, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. This dietary approach offers potential benefits for both personal health and the environment. In this article, we’ll explore what a plant based diet entails, the health advantages it can offer, and the nutritional factors individuals should consider before making the switch.

What is a Plant Based Diet?

A plant based diet primarily consists of foods sourced from plants, with varying interpretations among individuals. For some, it aligns with a vegan diet, entirely excluding animal products. Others view it as prioritizing plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, while occasionally including meat, fish or dairy. Regardless, a plant based diet emphasizes wholesome, minimally processed foods over highly processed ones.

What are the Benefits of Plant Based Diet?

Following a plant based diet offers many possible health benefits, including:

Better Weight Management:

Research Indicates that individuals following primarily plant based diets often have a lower body mass index (BMI) and reduced rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease compared to meat-eaters. Plant based diets are rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and water content from fruits and vegetables. This can help individuals feel fuller for longer periods and increase energy expenditure while at rest. A study from 2018 found that a plant based diet was effective in treating obesity. Participants assigned to a vegan diet lost significant weight and fat mass compared to those continuing their regular meat containing diet. Another study from 2009, involving over 60,000participants revealed that vegans have the lowest average BMI, followed by lacto-ovo vegetarians and pescatarians. Nonvegetarians had the highest average BMI.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Other Conditions:

A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association discovered that middle-aged adults who consumed diets rich in healthy plant foods and low in animal products had a decreased risk of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, reducing meat consumption can also lower the risk of:

  • Strokes
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Certain cancers
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Obesity

Diabetes Prevention and Treatment:

Plant based diet may aid in preventing or managing diabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin resistance. From the 2009 study involving 60,000 participants, only 2.9% of individuals following a vegan diet had type 2 diabetes, compared to 7.6% of those on a nonvegetarian diet. Even individuals on vegetarian diets containing dairy and eggs had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes than meat-eaters. Researchers have also explored the potential of plant based diets in treating diabetes. A 2018 review suggests that vegetarian and vegan diets may help individuals with diabetes reduce medication dependency, lose weight, and improve metabolic markers. The authors of the review proposed that doctors consider recommending plant based diets to individuals with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. While vegan diets appeared to offer the most benefits, all plant based diets showed improvements. Those considering a plant based diet should opt for one they believe they can sustain long-term.

Food to Eat:

When transitioning to a plant based diet, it’s essential to focus on incorporating the following food groups:


A plant based diet includes all fruits, such as:

  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Melons
  • Avocado


A nutritious plant based diet emphasizes the consumption of ample vegetables. Incorporating a diverse array of colorful vegetables ensures a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Such as:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Beetroot
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini

Root vegetables are a good source of carbohydrates and vitamins. They include:

  • Sweet potato
  • Potato
  • Butternut squash
  • Beets


Legumes are indeed a fantastic source of both fiber and plant based protein. There’s a wide variety to choose from when incorporating them into your diet, including:

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Kidney beans
  • Black beans


Seeds are indeed a convenient snack, and an effortless way to boost the nutritional content of salads, soups, and other dishes. Sesame seeds are rich in calcium, while sunflower seeds provide a good dose of vitamin E. Other seeds to consider incorporating into your diet include:

  • Pumpkin
  • Chia
  • Hemp
  • Flax


Nuts are a good source of plant based protein and vitamins, such as selenium and vitamin E.

Healthful Fats:

Indeed it’s crucial to include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, along with omega-3 fatty acids, in your diet for optimal health. Plant based sources of these healthy fats include:

Whole Grains:

Whole grains are indeed a valuable source of fiber and can help stabilize blood sugar levels. They also provide essential minerals like magnesium, copper, and selenium. Examples of whole grains to include in your diet are:

  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Spelt
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Grain bread
  • Rye
  • Barely

Plant Based Milk:

If individuals are looking to decrease their dairy consumption, they have a wide array of plant based milk alternatives available, which can be found in grocery stores and online. These includes:

  • Almonds
  • Soy
  • Coconut
  • Rice
  • Oat
  • Hemp
  • Cashews
  • Pea
  • Flax
  • Hazelnut

Just make sure to choose unsweetened plant milk options.

Foods to Avoid:

Absolutely, simply cutting out animal products doesn’t guarantee a healthy plant based diet. It’s equally important to minimize or avoid unhealthy foods, such as:

  • Processed foods
  • Sugary foods such as, cakes, biscuits, and pastries
  • Refined white carbohydrates
  • Processed vegan and vegetarian alternatives that may contain a lot of salt or sugar
  • Excessive salt
  • Fatty, greasy, or deep fried foods

Recipes to Get Started:

The following recipes can help a person get started with a plant based diet:


  • Apple
  • Cinnamon
  • Baked oatmeal
  • Almonds
  • Wild blueberries
  • Flax smoothie
  • Tofu scramble


  • Tuscan bean salad
  • Butternut squash soup
  • Rosemary balsamic roasted vegetables


  • Quinoa salad
  • Cauliflower
  • Chili non carne



  • Peanut butter banana protein bars
  • Basic hummus
  • Salt and cinnamon kale chips

What are the Considerations of Plant Based Diets?

Before starting a plant based diet, it’s essential to ensure you’re getting enough of the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin B-12
  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids


Are rice beans legumes?

Rice beans belong to the extensive legume family, which encompasses plants cultivated for their edible seeds and pods. Like numerous other legumes, beans are generally rich in protein, minerals and fiber, while being low in fat. 

Which beans are highest in protein?

  • Soybeans 
  • Lentils 
  • Large white beans 
  • Borlotti beans 
  • Split beans 
  • Pinto beans 
  • Kidney beans 
  • Black beans 
  • Navy beans 
  • Butter beans 

Are bananas high in protein? 

Bananas contain a significant amount of carbohydrates, water, fiber and antioxidants, while being low in protein and fat. A medium sized banana typically contains around 112 calories. 

Which fruit is the king of protein?

Jackfruit- often hailed as the king of fruits, jackfruits boasts a high protein content, offering 3 grams of protein in a 100 gram serving. It is also low in fat, packed with fiber, and loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious and delicious choice for any meal. 

Do potatoes have protein?

A medium 5.3 oz skin on potato has 3 grams of protein. Protein is an important component of almost every cell and tissue in the body. Protein is made up of amino acids.

Are apples high in protein? 

Apples are naturally low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol. While they don’t provide significant protein content, apples are rich in vitamin C and fiber. On average one medium apple contains around 25 grams of carbohydrates.

Can I eat 5 apples a day?

On average, it is generally safe for a person to consume one to two apples per day. However, exceeding this amount may lead to potentially dangerous and uncomfortable side effects. 

What’s better than rice?

  • Amaranth 
  • Barely 
  • Broccoli rice 
  • Bulgur wheat 
  • Cabbage shreds 
  • Cauliflower rice 
  • Couscous 
  • Farro 
  • Freekeh 
  • Orzo 
  • Quinoa 
  • Sweet potato rice 
  • Wild rice 

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