5 healthy legumes you must include in your diet

Sometimes, healthy foods might seem tricky to add to your diet, but why look around when the family of legumes is a powerhouse of nutrients? Here’s all you need to know!

Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans, are a good source of protein, folate, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients promote good heart health, regulate blood sugar levels and boost energy. In addition, legumes also contain antioxidants that are known to reduce inflammation, and in turn, help maintain physical fitness.

“Most importantly, the consumption of beans and legumes is safe, even when someone has diabetes, heart issues, or gut problems,” Priya Palan, Dietitian, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, tells HealthShots.

healthy legumes
Legumes are an excellent source of protein. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Legums are among the most nutritious vegetarian foods. Not only are they healthy, but truly versatile and delicious.

Don’t wait and stock up on these five legumes that are considered to be the healthiest:

1. Chickpea

Chickpea is a great source of protein, fiber, and folate. It is a low glycemic index food that is slowly absorbed, which is why it helps to control blood sugar. The high dietary soluble fiber helps in easier and regular bowel movements. It also lowers cholesterol and thus reduces the risk of heart disease. It consists of choline, an important nutrient that is said to boost mental health, shares Palan.

2. Lentils

Lentils are extremely nutritious and help improve overall health, since they are packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also a good source of iron. At the same time, fiber supports regular bowel movements and the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It also helps to balance your blood sugar levels, and provides more satiety.

3. Kidney beans

Palan says, “It slows the absorption of sugar into the blood, helping to reduce blood sugar levels. They are rich in fibre, which in turn, promotes colon health and helps to maintain weight.”

4. Peas

It’s a great source of fiber and protein, and helps to reduce insulin resistance. In fact, the fiber in pea feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut, and improves its health. Moreover, it can be used as a supplement to gain various health benefits, especially for those who are following a vegan diet.

healthy legumes
Peas are great for your health.
5. Soybean

“It is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, and that means it has various potential health benefits. The high fiber content improves gut health, while various bioactive plant compounds reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol,” says Palan.

In a nutshell, you can easily consume legums in any form by adding them to soups, salads, stews, or more.

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