Legumes are an important part of any plant-based food preparation. They belong to the family of plants called Leguminosae that include shrubs, trees, herbs, and climbers. Some of the commonly used legumes are lentils, peas, soybeans, sprouts, peanuts, mung beans, lupins, and broad beans, etc. Scientific studies suggest that the bioactive compound in legumes has nutritional superiority, antioxidant properties, and health benefits. Hence they attract numerous health-conscious customers. In this article, we will explore their role in the human diet.
What Are Legumes?
Legumes are categorized into pulses and oilseeds. This category of plant-based food is rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins, unsaturated fats, amino acids, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Thus they are a good meat alternative and are used in the preparation of plant-based meat. These are also one among the first crops ever cultivated by mankind, and the most important food source after cereals.
What Are The Different Classes Of Legumes?
- Dry beans
- Dry peas
- Dry broad beans
- Pigeon peas
- Dry cowpeas
- Bambara beans
- Minor pulses
What Are The Advantages Of Using Legumes?
Legumes are a popular choice in plant-based food preparation because of their nutritional benefits. Apart from this, they have health benefits like anticarcinogenic, hypoglycemic, and antiatherogenic properties. They are a cheaper alternative for meat, and hence a suitable food substitute affordable to low-income groups. In recent years, there is a higher use of legume products because people are replacing animal protein with vegetable protein.
From an economic perspective, legumes are easier to grow because they are less resource-intensive. Because of this, they are suitable for local farmers who cannot afford expensive fertilizers and irrigation systems. Moreover, they easily thrive in adverse weather conditions, poor soil, and have high pest and disease resistance. Finally, you can easily cultivate them at the household level, and they are a cheap source of nutrients.
About The Protein Contained In Legumes
Legumes and products made using them are popular in plant-based food preparation because of their protein content, and they generally contain 20 to 45% protein. Soybeans and lupins have 38 to 45% protein, while beans and peas have 17 to 20% protein. The increased protein content of the legumes is primarily attributed to the presence of nitrogen-fixing bacteria found in its roots. However, except soy protein, leguminous proteins are low in essential Sulphur containing amino acids cysteine, tryptophan, and methionine.
These are the points that you should be aware of when using legumes for replacing animal protein in your plant-based diet.