When it comes to eating legumes, the experts do not always agree: either legumes are incredibly nutritious, or they are exceedingly harmful.
Should beans be avoided, or can they be consumed as part of a healthy, well balanced whole food based diet?
In this article, I’ll take a close look at the facts, and then I’ll let you decide if legumes are good or bad for you.
Healthy Benefits of Legumes
Legumes Contain Powerful Antioxidants, Which Help Fight Cancer
Legumes contain high levels of flavonoids and phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, making them an excellent choice to help protect against several forms of cancer.
Legumes May Improve Cardiovascular Health
Legumes may improve cardiovascular health in a number of ways, the most significant being their anti-inflammatory properties. Legumes contain high levels of flavinoids, which have been shown to regulate fat metabolism and cholesterol emission.
Legumes are also high in soluble fiber, which has been associated with fighting cardio vascular disease by facilitating the equalization of unhealthy cholesterol levels. A diet high in soluble fiber, especially from legume sources, is thought to protect against heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
Fiber removes waste and toxins from your body, keeping your arteries free from dangerous plaque build-up. Consuming a 3/4 cup serving of properly cooked legumes of any kind may help reduce the possibility of a heart attack.
Legumes May Help With Weight Control
Legumes, especially black beans, contain high amounts of folate and magnesium, which are significant in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. As an added bonus, the high fiber content of legumes helps to fill your stomach quickly. Having a full belly helps to prevent overeating and gaining excess weight.
Legumes May Help Regulate Blood Sugar
Legumes contain a good balance of healthy complex carbohydrates and proteins, which the body is able to use easily for many necessary functions. Legumes have the ability to provide a steady flow of energy to your body in the form of starches. This helps prevent “sugar spikes” and cravings.
Disadvantages of Eating Legumes
Legumes Contain Anti-Nutrients
Unfortunately, there are disadvantages to eating legumes. Legumes house substances known as anti-nutrients, which are known to hamper with digestion and the absorption of many essential nutrients.
Legumes contain phytic acid, which can impede the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium. Consuming high amounts of phytic acid can potentially result in mineral deficiencies in your body, which may lead to bone loss and osteoporosis.
Lectins are proteins found in all legumes. This type of protein resists digestion and may have an adverse affect on the cells lining your digestive tract.
You Can Reduce The Anti-Nutrients Found In Legumes
Soaking and sprouting legumes may help to reduce anti-nutrients and may help to increase mineral absorption. In addition, properly soaking and cooking legumes may help reduce the formation of gas and may make them easier to digest.
Legumes are packed with numerous health benefits.
They have a remarkable nutritional profile, and are an excellent choice if you want plant-based sources of protein.
However, they also contain anti-nutrients, which may decrease their nutritional value.
There are ways to neutralize anti-nutrients found in legumes. For centuries, traditional cooking methods like soaking, sprouting, and boiling, have been used, all with beneficial results.
I believe moderation is the key. I have chosen to believe properly prepared legumes are healthy when consumed as part of a balanced, whole food based diet.
Try My Delicious Black Bean Burrito Recipe (Click here for the full recipe)
Let’s Get Cooking!
Out of all the legumes I have tried, I think black beans are my favorite. I love their robust flavor, and I think everyone should have black beans in their kitchen cabinets. They are extremely budget friendly and an excellent source of protein, soluble fiber, cancer fighting antioxidants, and a number of vitamins and minerals.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place black beans, 1 tsp Chile powder, 1 tsp cumin, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, garlic, onion, and dash of red pepper flakes in a blender.
Blend until beans are the consistency of re-fried beans.
Divide bean mixture evenly down the center of each of the tortillas.
Top each with 2 tbsp. of shredded cheddar cheese.
Wrap each burrito by first folding the bottom and top, and then rolling to close.
Place filled burritos in a single layer in a lightly greased baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 350 degree oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.
Place 1 cup of shredded lettuce on each of 4 plates. Place heated burrito on top of lettuce. Garnish with tomato halves (each plate should get 8 halves). Top with 2 tbsp.. spicy yogurt sauce.
What about you? Do you think legumes are good or bad for you? What is your favorite legume? Please join the discussion and leave a comment below.
As always, thank you for stopping by. I want to emphasize I am not a medical doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist. I do not have a degree in medicine, dietetics, or nutrition. I do not make claims to any specialized medical training, nor do I dispense medical advice or prescriptions. The content on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any diseases. Please click here to read my full disclaimer.