Legumes … An ingredient that played an integral part in our grandparents’ diet but has been long since forgotten! And yet, legumes have loads of benefits, for our health and our planet.
1. Legumes are a source of plant protein!
It fills the same role as animal protein: the essential building blocks for much of the tissue in the human body (muscles, skin, bones). When legumes are combined with grains (in the same meal or day), they provide all the amino acids the body needs.
2. Legumes are good for the environment.
Nitrogen is often a limiting factor in crop growth, so farmers have to treat their fields with nitrogen-based fertilizers. But bean plants bind with soil bacteria that capture nitrogen from the air and make it available to the plant. Talk about symbiosis! The bacteria and the bean plants naturally cooperate so that everyone can thrive.
3. Legumes are rich in fiber.
Fiber helps food to pass slowly through the digestive tract, allowing us to extract its nutrients. It also helps reduce the risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancer.
4. Legumes keep us from snacking between meals!
Legumes help us to eat less by making us feel full quickly during meals, and continuing to combat cravings throughout the day.
5. Legumes contribute to food security!
They represent an important source of plant protein that is more accessible and far less expensive than animal protein, especially in poor countries. Legumes can be stored for long periods of time without losing any nutritional value, which helps to reduce food waste and provide food security for households.
Quite simply: Eating legumes provides a good source of plant protein and fiber, and helps stop snacking between meals. Plus, growing legumes naturally enriches the soil with nitrogen and is great for the environment!