Discover the top 5 Benefits of Legumes

Legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein.

Legumes are loaded with health benefits.

(Piyaset /

Legumes are a type of vegetable that you probably ate and enjoyed even if you didn’t know what these foods were. That’s because some very common vegetables like green peas, soybeans, lentils, and even peanuts are legumes.

According to WebMD, there are more than 16,000 varieties grown around the globe. All cultures in the world have signature dishes made from legumes including refried black beans in Mexico, hummus – made from chickpeas –  in the Middle East, and baked beans – made from navy beans – in the US.

Some like snow peas can be eaten in their pods. Many varieties are available fresh while others can be canned like kidney beans, frozen, or dried. Legumes are highly versatile and incredibly good for you. Here are five top benefits of adding legumes to your diet.

Packed Full of Nutrition 

Legumes are very nutritious. Just one cup of boiled lentils contains 17.9 grams of protein, 15.6 grams of fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium, and iron, according to Medical News Today. Lentils, unlike other dried varieties do not have to be soaked before use.

Chickpeas – also known as garbanzo beans – and navy beans have even higher levels of magnesium. But there are more benefits, legumes are low in fat, have no cholesterol, and contain power antioxidants

Hummus is a healthy part of any meal.

(Xan /

Contains Powerful Antioxidants

Beans and other legumes contain powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that may slow or prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, according to WebMD. People who eat a diet that is rich in antioxidants are at lower risk of developing chronic health conditions including cardiovascular disease, strokes, and some cancers.

Black bean chili is full of antioxidants.

(Gayvoronskaya_Yana /

Promotes Heart Health

Lentils and beans are heart healthy foods to eat because of the high fiber content, and because they are a healthy replacement for animal proteins, according to The American Heart Association. Eating these types legumes as part of a healthy diet can help lower your blood cholesterol; a leading cause of heart disease, as well as reducing your blood pressure.

Lentil and veggie salad is good for your heart health.

(Alexandra Anschiz /

May Lessen Diabetes Risk

Legumes could also aid in helping to prevent type 2 diabetes due to the bioactive compounds found in these foods. Legumes are also a low glycemic index food, meaning that your blood sugar levels do not spike after eating, according to Medical News Today. High fiber and low GI foods can also help regulate blood sugar, so legumes are a good food choice for diabetics.

Steamed edamame is a healthy dish.

(Foodio /

Good for Your Gut

Legumes are also good for your gut health due to the soluble and insoluble fiber and prebiotics  that are contained in lentils and beans, suggested Better Homes & Garden. This will promote healthy gut microbiome and good digestive health.

A drawback of legumes is that many can cause gas but you can reduce this by rinsing dry and canned beans before you cook them. Try eating small amounts to help your body get used to the high fiber content.

Baked kidney beans are loaded with fiber.

(rocharibeiro /