Legumes come from the Fabaceae family. These, with regional variations, are popular food across the globe. The legume family of plants includes pulses, which are the dried seed of legumes.

Food and Agriculture Organization recognizes 11 primary pulse categories. These include dry beans (e.g., pinto, kidney, and navy beans); chickpeas; dry peas, cowpeas, lentils, broad or fava beans, and pigeon peas.

Legumes are split, ground into flour, dried, canned, cooked, or whole frozen. While soybean, groundnut (peanut), dry bean, and chickpeas are the world’s most-produced legumes.

Some of the more popular legumes with low-fat content include chickpeas, lentils, peas, beans of multiple types – red kidney beans, black-eyed beans, navy beans, adzuki beans, cannellini beans, butter beans, etc. These are low-fat foods and have a role in weight management and obesity control.

Soybean is a popular source of plant protein. Soybean has 16.6% protein, 9.9% carbohydrates, 9% fats, 3% sugar, and 6% fiber. Most of the fat is in the form of polyunsaturated form, with saturated fat content being put at 1.3%. Soybean has the highest protein content (around 40%); other legumes have a protein content between 20 and 30%.

All processed beans steaming results in higher retention of nutritional properties than boiling. Pressure boiling shortened processing time compared to cooking with insignificant nutritional loss. Steam processing helps develop high-quality health-promoting black bean products (Xu et al., 2008)

Dry beans reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. (Geil et al., 1994)

Peas, among other legumes, have the least amount of fat, carbohydrate, and protein. Still, it is rich in vitamins A, C, Calcium, and Iron. Given its nutritional profile, it will be an excellent addition to a model weight loss diet.

Legumes are a cheap alternative to meat and a great source of quality, healthy protein. This makes legumes a popular food option for people across the globe.

Additional reading:

Nutrition Facts – a guide to good health

Natural Solutions for Obesity

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