Legumes are an excellent source of fiber and protein, but should be eaten in moderation to avoid the risk of mineral deficiencies.
The term "legume" refers to a variety of plants that grow seeds in a pod. These include lentils, peanuts, and a variety of beans and peas. As a whole, legumes are an excellent source of both fiber and protein. While nutritional values will depend on the legume in question, one serving (or about one cup) can often have between 15% and 75% of your daily recommended intake of protein, and about 25% to 60% of fiber.
Protein is necessary for the reparation of muscles, skin, bones, hair and nails. It is important not only for gym-goers to help bulk up, but also for everyone else as well so their bodies can function optimally. Fiber is also very important as it prevents constipation, and promotes increased regularity. By cleansing the colon and encouraging regular bowel movements, fiber can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Furthermore, fiber balances blood sugar and cholesterol, thereby helping to prevent and manage both diabetes and heart disease.
However, legumes also contain phytic acid which interferes with the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium, zinc, and iron. Over time, this interference can lead to mineral deficiencies with symptoms that range in severity, from exhaustion and slow healing time for wounds, to arthritis, depression, and osteoporosis. This is more of a concern if legumes are eaten in excess, or if they are the primary source of protein in the diet. Vegetarians are more at risk for developing these deficiencies as zinc and iron from meat can absorb effectively even when phytic acid is present. As long as they are eaten in moderation, legumes are a healthy way to get the fiber and protein you need in your diet.
Possible long-term side effects
- mineral deficiencies
Ingredients to be aware of
- phytic acid
- manage blood sugar levels
- increased regularity
- balance cholesterol
- repair muscles
- encourage proper fetal development
- keeps you feeling fuller for longer
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Written by Lindsay | 01-27-2016
Written by Lindsay
Suggest improvement or correction