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What Are Legumes? [5 Common Examples You Should Know]

What Are Legumes [5 Common Examples You Should Know]

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Many of us are told over and over the importance of including legumes in our diets.

They’re considered to be a good source of folate, potassium, magnesium, and many other beneficial vitamins and minerals.

The thing is though, many of us don’t actually know what legumes really consist of. Sure, almost all of us will have eaten dishes containing this food group before, but we might not even have realized it. 

If you’re on the journey to including more legumes in your diet, then you’ve come to the right place.

Below, we’ve compiled this handy guide, that details some of the most common legumes on the market.

You can use these as substitutions for meat in several different dishes, as they’re a super versatile ingredient. 

To find out more about some of the most common types of legumes, keep reading, as we take a closer look. 

1. Chickpeas

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Why not start off our list with one of the most recognizable types of legumes out there?

Chickpeas are considered to be one of the most versatile food items on the planet, and are used in many vegan and vegetarian recipes as a replacement for meat. 

The reason why chickpeas are a great replacement for meat is because they can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Chickpeas have a high protein and fiber content, which means that your body will digest them slowly, suppressing your appetite in the meantime. 

As well as this, chickpeas are a great option if you’re looking to add more protein to your diet. One cup of chickpeas will contain approximately 14.5 grams of protein in total.

This makes them a great option to chow down on before or after a heavy gym session. 

In addition to being great at providing your body with the protein it needs to keep going throughout the day, chickpeas are also great at regulating your blood sugar.

They have a naturally low glycemic index, which means that they can help to keep your blood sugar at a steady level, without causing any spikes which may trigger feelings of hunger or sluggishness. 

2. Peas 

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The next most common type of legumes that you should know about are peas.

Peas have a number of different health benefits, and are a great side dish that you can use to accompany pretty much any main meal. 

Peas contain lots and lots of minerals that are considered to be heart friendly, including potassium and Vitamin C.

These can help to manage your cholesterol levels more effectively. 

As well as this, peas are also speculated to help prevent onset of cancer. This is because they have high levels of antioxidants, which can combat unruly cells within the body.

They also contain special compounds called ‘saponins’, which are said to protect against specific types of cancer. 

Finally peas are also known to help greatly with digestive health, as they contain plenty of soluble fiber which then aids healthy bowel movements. 

3. Soybeans 

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Soybeans are another type of common legume that you can find ubiquitously in the supermarket.

Just like chickpeas, they’re known for being great meat replacements within dishes such as curries.

As well as this, soybeans also make up a popular variety of plant based milk, known as soya milk.

This is great for those who are lactose intolerant, or are simply following a vegan or vegetarian diet. 

Soybeans have actually been linked to preventing the onset of coronary heart disease.

This is because they contain protein which helps to reduce cholesterol levels within the body. 

As well as this, soybeans are also considered to be a good food source for women undergoing the symptoms associated with menopause.

They have phytoestrogens which act as a mild form of MHT.

4. Peanuts 

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Another common type of legume that many people don’t realize is a part of this food group are peanuts. Peanuts are a great food source, full of natural fiber and protein.

They’re a great replacement for unhealthy sugary snacks, such as candies and potato chips. 

Peanuts, because of their immense fiber content, can help to reduce inflammation within the body, making them great for those who are suffering from conditions such as arthritis.

As well as this, they can also help to reduce your risk of developing stomach cancer later in life.  

Finally, they also contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals, so if you’re struggling to get your daily intake, consuming a handful of these little treats can really help on your way. 

5. Broad Beans 

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Finally, another popular type of legume that you may not be too familiar with is broad beans.

Board beans are packed full of fiber, containing approximately 9 grams of fiber in every single cup.

Because of the high fiber content contained within this variety of legume, it can help to aid the digestive process in your body.

This means that your bowel movements will become more steady and frequent, helping to solve issues such as constipation. 

They’re also super easy to prepare, and can be used as replacements for meat, but also taste super moreish when eaten by themselves.

Many people will opt to layer them on salads during the summer months. 

Final Thoughts 

To sum up, there are a whole bunch of legumes out there that you can add to your daily diet.

Consuming legumes on a regular basis can help to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Legumes?

Lentils, peas, and beans are all considered to be legumes.

They’re known as a highly nutritious food source, and they’re super versatile, allowing you to use them for a wide array of different dishes. 

Legumes are considered to be a great food source because they’re packed full of fiber, folate, and potassium, which your body needs to keep going throughout the day. 

They’re also naturally low in fat, and so they make an excellent substitute for many meat based dishes, which tend to contain more cholesterol.

Is Cucumber Considered A Legume?

Despite some thinking otherwise, cucumber is not in fact, a legume.

Cucumbers are considered to be a part of the fruit family, and this is due to the tiny seeds which grow inside them, and cause the plant to flower.

Is Coffee A Legume?

Coffee beans and legumes are two very different items. The former is actually a pit that’s found within a larger item called a ‘coffee cherry’. Legumes however, consist of beans and peas.