How often do you eat lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans? If you’re partial to including legumes in your diet, then you could be missing out on something really good.
When we think of protein, most of our minds jump straight to lean chicken breast, boiled eggs or cottage cheese. But despite their impressive nutritional profile, legumes seem to fall-short from our thoughts.
However, the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council in Australia says there is an increasing awareness of legumes as a good source of plant-protein. And, not only are they more economical than animal products, but they could actually help you live longer.
A recent study that followed 131,000 American adults for 32 years addressed the relationship between protein consumption (both animal and plant sources) and the risk of early death.
The study found that increasing plant-protein by just three per cent per day was found to reduce the risk of death (from all causes) by 10 per cent. The success of the diet was most effective when swapping processed meats for legumes.
Legumes are also known to aid weight loss, according to new studies conducted by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada. Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the studies revealed that a daily serving of beans and other pulses or legumes can contribute to a small and modest weight loss and reduced cholesterol levels. The studies also showed subjects who had legumes for meals felt fuller by 31 per cent – this means they are likely to not overeat or eat less than a meal which excludes legumes.
So, how can we eat more legumes in our diet? Start off by trying some of our delicious recipes (click through the gallery below):
Text: The Australian Women’s Weekly / Additional Reporting: Sean Tan