Why I Love Legumes

Why I Love Legumes

Legumes are enjoyed all around the world.  In South America as Burritos (beans and corn with sour cream).  Lebanese eat Hummus (chickpeas and tahini served with flat bread).  Cassoulet in France is a famous gourmet dish of haricot beans cooked with local sausages, pork, herbs, and tomatoes.  Dahl in India is lentil, mung beans with rice and raita (yogurt & cucumber).  There are endless ways you can enjoy legumes; casseroles, soups, salads, dips.

Legumes are dried beans and peas that have been part of the human diet for thousands of years.  Traditionally known in some ‘civilized western countries’ as ‘poor man’s meat’.  However, in the east legumes are amongst the highest valued foods since ancient times. There are many varieties including; lentils, red kidney beans, lima beans, pinto, black beans, navy beans, soybeans, chickpeas, white beans, adzuki and split peas.  Legumes are highly proactive disease-fighting and anti-ageing foods.

How I Cook Legumes

Most beans and peas require soaking and long cooking for digestibility. Rinse first under running water and soak overnight or longer in water. I change the water a few times during this period of soaking.  Soak them in water five times their volume.  Discard soaking water.  Cook in fresh water and after 30 minutes, I discard the water and cook again in fresh water until soft.  Generally, 1 cup dry beans will yield 2 ½ cups of cooked beans.  To prevent flatulence and gas I add a piece of wakame.  Wakame is a sea vegetable high in alkalizing minerals, which makes them easier to digest.  I also add a splash of olive oil and apple cider vinegar while the beans are cooking.

Health Benefits Of Legumes

Reduces cholesterol, especially LDL

Lowers blood pressure

Regulates colon functions

Prevent constipation

Prevents hemorrhoids, bowel diseases

Phytochemical properties may inhibit cancer (esp.colon)

Phytochemical lignin’s which has an oestrogenic effect may protect both men and women from estrogen-dependent cancers.

Balances blood sugar.

Nic Makim is a nutritionist, health coach and blogger focusing on weight loss, cleansing, vitality and healthy aging.  Be in touch!

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