LEGUMES

Coming from a Cuban background beans were always a part of my diet. Whether served as the main part of the meal over rice or on the side beans were a delicious staple. I know many people are not so fortunate and may struggle to consume legumes without digestive distress, so I recommend reading through this article and starting slow! If you crave more information check out Dr. Will Bulsewicz's book Fiber Fueled to learn about how to best add more beans into your diet with minimal distress.


Legumes are one of the most powerful and all-encompassing plant foods you can consume! From fiber, to micronutrients, to a strong source of carbohydrates and protein, legumes just about have it all. They are a great plant to grow as they provide nitrogen to the soil which benefits all other plants in the area and are an extremely low maintenance crop.. Some common legumes are black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, soybeans, and so many more.


Here you can find a comprehensive list of all the types of edible legumes/ pulses!


Nutrition experts recommend that adults consume 25 to 38 grams (g) of dietary fiber per day (14 g per 1,000 calories); however, the majority of Americans do not reach this recommendation consistently. Dietary fiber intake contributes to feelings of fullness or satiety and helps maintain functioning of the digestive system. Beans are a great way to bump up your fiber intake as they are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. On average, beans provide 7 or more grams of total dietary fiber per ½-cup serving. The consumption of fiber also has been associated with decreasing total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, as well decreasing the risk for developing coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and some gastrointestinal diseases.


Learn more about fiber and gut health!


Legumes are one of the leading sources of protein in most plant-based diets and should be a staple in every diet. Dr. Michael Greger recommends 3 servings a day in his daily dozen recommendations due to their regulatory properties of blood pressure, cholesterol, body weight, as well as their high protein and iron content.


Learn more about plant vs animal protein.


In terms of cooking legumes that are dry, soaking is often a good practice to shorten cooking time. Some people also find they have some unpleasant digestive symptoms from increasing their legume intake such as gas and irritable bowel. This is due to the high fiber content in the beans and some gases. When increasing fiber intake (with beans), you must do so a small amount at a time to not overwork your gut and intestines. To avoid gas soaking the beans may help ease the bowel. Once your body gets used to more and more fiber you will no longer face those issues as they are only temporary!


Now that is some Cool Beans! (I had to do it...)


My Favorite Bean Based Recipes:

White Bean & Kale Soup

Bean Chili & Cornbread

Cuban Picadillo (Made with Tempeh)

Red Lentil Stew

Falafel with Lemon Beet Hummus

Black Bean Soup

Protein Pesto Pasta Salad

BBQ Tempeh Tacos

Enchiladas

Tofu Scramble


Let me know if you give any of these a try!

 

“USDA ARS Online Magazine Vol. 58, No. 5.” AgResearch Mag, agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2010/may/bean/.

“North Dakota State University.” All About Beans Nutrition, Health Benefits, Preparation and Use in Menus - Publications,

United States Department of Agriculture, Health and Human Services. Chapter 4 in Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2010. [cited 2012 Dec 20].

 

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