Health Benefits of Legumes

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Legumes contain nutrients like protein, minerals, vitamins, and starch and are observed as the earliest domestic plants. They are utilised as human and animal food and soil-enhancing ingredients in agriculture and agro-forestry. 

What are Legumes?

Legumes comes under leguminosae family. It is one of the most prominent and principal families of flowering plants representing 650 to 750 genera, 18,000 to 19,000 species of climbers, shrubs, herbs, and trees. 

The podded fruits or legumes generally define this family. It is divided into four subfamilies: Papilionoideae (14,000), Caesalpinioideae (2,800 species), Mimosoideae (2,900), and Swartzioideae (80) 

The most popular and commonly used legumes are chickpeas, cowpeas, kidneys, lentils, alfalfa, clovers, mung beans, peanuts, peas, pigeon peas, and vetches soybeans.  

The nutrition profile of legumes

One-half cup of legumes gives about 115 calories, 7–9 g of fibre, 8 g of protein, 20 g of carbohydrate, and 1 g of fat. They also have a low glycemic index, ranging between 10 and 40.  

Legumes are a great source of nutrients such as protein, starch, minerals and vitamins and main health-protective compounds (phenolics, inositol phosphates and oligo-saccharides) 

The considerable nutritional value of legume seeds provides the required nourishment and food for vegetarians. It acts as a replacement for meat. The isolated proteins, starch and fibres from legume seeds possess excellent physico-chemical and health-protecting characteristics. 

Legumes in our food 

Legume seeds are the primary human food source, second only to cereals. In comparison with cereals, legumes are more rich in protein content. When they are both eaten together, they have complete protein requirements. 

Kidney beans are a significant source of food in Latin America. In contrast, lentils, chickpeas, and pigeon peas are important diets in South Asia, and fava beans, lentils, and chickpeas are the primary protein sources in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Everyday food products made from legumes include peanut butter and soymilk.    

Fodder and Animal Food 

Legumes are also used as animal fodder; soybeans are the most commonly used animal fodder. 

Forage legumes commonly used are grass-legume mixtures, medics, trefoils, clovers, and vetches, which are crucial in temperate regions. 

Lablab, Desmodium, Stylosanthes, Pueraria, and other tropical pasture crops are mainly used as cattle fodder in tropical and subtropical regions.  

Health Benefits 

Lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases 
The high fibre content, low glycaemic index and the presence of minor components like phytosterols, saponins, oligosaccharides, etc., are considered vital responsible agents in regulating lipids and, therefore, decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.  
Regulates Diabetics 
The lower glycaemic index and undigestible fibres of dry legumes are observed to assist glycaemic control in people with diabetes.  
Promotes Digestion  

Legumes are assumed to be essential in the accelerated transit of digested food in the intestinal tract.  This accelerated transit and its final excretion play a principal role in decreasing cholesterol re-absorption and incomplete starch digestion and reducing fermentation processes. 

Benefits of Popular Legumes 

Kidney bean acts as a diuretic and is used efficiently in curing oedema and swelling. It contains high amounts of fibre and may help decrease the rise in blood sugar after a meal. 

Peas are diuretic and mild laxative. They are recommended for vomiting, hiccups, belching, constipation and cough and are a perfect tonic for the spleen, pancreas and stomach. It also reduces the chances of skin eruptions and accelerates their healing.  

Black bean is a pain killer, especially for lower backaches and knee pain. It is described as a tonic, haematinic and diuretic. 

Lentil invigorates the adrenal system and increases the strength of the kidneys.  

Adzuki bean is described as a diuretic and lactagogue. It manages the kidney-adrenal functions and detoxifies the body. It effectively treats ascites, mumps, boils, leucorrhoea, jaundice and diarrhoea

Mung bean is recommended for diarrhoea, dysentery, conjunctivitis, oedema of lower extremities, burns, mumps and poisoning from food, high blood pressure, intestinal ulcers, painful urination lead and pesticide. 

Soybean is an excellent cure for childhood malnourishment. It is used to treat spasms, arthritis, skin eruptions, constipation, food stagnation, oedema and toxaemia during pregnancy. It is used as a tonic for the pancreas, spleen and kidneys.  

Lima bean is a tonic for the liver and lungs and heals the skin.  

String bean strengthens the spleen, pancreas and kidneys. It is recommended for diarrhoea, diabetes and leucorrhoea. 

Legumes Recipes 

Instant Pot Spinach dal 

Instant Pot Spinach Dal is a popular Indian dish that blends tender cooked lentils with fresh spinach leaves and aromatic spices. This dish is creamy, flavorful, and nutritious.  

  • The comforting blend of protein and greens is perfect for a wholesome and satisfying meal. The Instant Pot makes the cooking process fast and easy while maintaining the nutritional value and flavours of the ingredients.  
  • First, the onions, garlic, and green chillies must be sautéed until fragrant.  
  • Lentils are pressure-cooked with water and spices to a soft and mushy consistency.  
  • Lastly, fresh spinach leaves are added to the dal and simmered till the flavours are absorbed. 
  • The result is a creamy, flavorful, & healthy dish that’s best for serving with rice or bread.  

Kidney Bean Brownies 

  • Turn on the oven and keep it to 350 degrees F. Blend the oats in a food processor to achieve a consistency like oat flour. 
  • Drain and rinse the beans very well. 
  • Add all ingredients, excluding the chocolate chips, to the blender and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.  
  • Stir in the chocolate chips using your hand.  
  • Spray/grease an 8×8 pan, a brownie pan, or a muffin tin.  
  • Smooth the tops with a spatula and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes in a brownie pan or 16-20 minutes in an 8×8 pan. 


Legumes are excellent sources of dietary fibre, protein, B vitamins, and many other essential vitamins and minerals. They are vital foods in healthy diets and have many nutritious and other benefits. 


1. What are the benefits of eating legumes? 

Legumes are loaded with nutrients. They have fewer calories, yet their fibre and protein make you feel full. Your body slowly uses the carbohydrates in legumes, giving steady energy to the body, brain, and nervous system. Consuming more legumes as part of a healthy diet can help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. 

2. What are the ten examples of legumes? 

Legumes are defined as members of the bean family. The critical ten examples of legumes are: 
Broad beans 
Kidney beans 
Black-eyed peas
Navy beans


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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