Tuesday, August 1, 2023 10:56 AM

Extract from the book “Staying Healthy with Nutrition.” 
Photo by Deryn Macey on unsplash.com
“…the legume vegetables are a special class of the pea and bean plants, which contain edible seeds inside pods that grow after the plant flowers. These include adzuki beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, great northerns, green peas, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, peanuts, pinto beans, and soybeans. There are also many other types of peas and beans. In fact, peanuts are actually a legume vegetable and not a true nut… 
Legumes are an interesting food, mainly a mixture of protein and starch, with many positive qualities as a food. They are low in calories, low in fat, a good complex carbohydrate, and fairly high in fiber, which may help intestinal action and even help to reduce cholesterol levels. Most importantly, especially for the vegetarian, the legumes are a good and inexpensive protein source….. And the extra advantage is that the beans have less than 10% fat content…. 
One concern, however, is that the protein in most of the peas and beans is not as complete as the animal proteins (although the protein present is well utilized). In other words, all the essential amino acids are not contained in near-equal amounts. Tryptophan and methionine are the two amino acids most commonly low in the vegetable proteins. So we must eat more of these vegetable protein foods or mix them with different vegetable protein foods such as grains (which are commonly higher than legumes in methionine but lower in lysine) to get all the essential amino acids at more optimum levels….. 
Another concern with legumes, especially beans, is that in many people they cause increased intestinal gas, which leads to burping, flatulence, or abdominal discomfort. This is caused mainly by the oligosaccharides in the beans fermenting in the lower intestine. Because these starch-type molecules are contained primarily in the coverings of the beans, we can soak the beans in water, usually overnight, and then discard the water first before cooking them in fresh water to help leach out some of their fermenting properties. This definitely reduces the gas-producing potential for which beans are notorious. Also, combining such beans as mung, adzuki, lentil, or black with such grains as rice or millet in a 1:3 (bean to grain) ratio will provide low gas but good fuel as a complete protein. 
Overall, however, the legumes are an important class of foods….”

Better Body Clinical Nutrition


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