Chickpeas & Co are so healthy and legumes promote health
The importance of legumes for a healthier diet is still underestimated. Wrongly as we think, that’s why we introduce you to the most important representatives. Continue reading to find out why legumes promote health.
Legumes are very nutritious, they are foods with a high nutrient and low energy density and are an excellent source of protein.
It is not for nothing that most are on the menus of the oldest people in the world. But they are not only nutritious and healthy! Most legumes, furthermore, form a symbiosis with bacteria in their root nodules that fix nitrogen.
As a result, they are independent of the nitrate content of the soil and even contribute to its fertility. We have put together some other interesting backgrounds and facts for you.
Peas – globules surrounded by myths
The pea (Pisum sativum) originally comes from Asia Minor and has been cultivated for thousands of years. Dried peas consist of 25 percent crude protein, 53 percent carbohydrates, 18 percent fiber and three percent minerals.
Some myths and folk customs are associated with peas. For example, they are considered dead food: anyone who eats peas in Holy Week or on one of the twelve rough nights brings bad luck into the house, so they say. At the same time, peas are also associated with fertility and are considered a wedding dish.
Peanuts – more peas than nuts
For some, the peanuts in this list may come as a surprise: they are similar to botanical nuts, but they belong to the legume family and are related to beans and peas. If we are more mindful, we can already find an indication for this in its name “pea-nut.”
This beloved nut (Arachis hypogaea) originally comes from the South American Andes. The main growing countries are now the USA, Argentina, Sudan, Senegal and Brazil.
The peanut has a high protein content of 24 percent. Together with cashew nuts, it is also one of the most magnesium-rich plant foods.
In addition, peanuts contain numerous minerals and are rich in B vitamins. Compared to other legumes, you can also eat peanuts raw. Their allergenic potential, however, is relatively high.
Chickpeas – healthy and at home all over the world
The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) comes from the subtropical areas of the world, the leading cultivation country is India today.
In contrast to the other legumes, farmers do not grow chickpeas primarily as animal feed, but for human consumption.
Raw “chickpeas”, correctly called “chickpea seeds”, along with kidney beans, contain the indigestible toxin phasin, which decomposes once exposed to proper heat.
We should, therefore, only eat them well cooked. They contain around 20 percent protein, with a relatively high proportion of the essential amino acids lysine (10 percent) and threonine (5 percent), as well as 40 percent carbohydrates and about 12 percent fiber.
Chickpeas are used to prepare a range of delicious dishes around the world. In Mexico and India, chickpeas are an important staple food.
When in India, for example, you will see that they use young chickpea plants to prepare a salad or eat cooked chickpeas under the name Chana Masala.
In the Middle East and North Africa, they roast chickpeas and eat them like nuts. People in the Middle East and North Africa widely enjoy Falafel.
Cooks prepare these delicious meatless balls from seasoned chickpea porridge. In the oriental kitchen hummus, a paste made from chickpeas and sesame, has always enjoyed great popularity.
Another preparation made from chickpea flour is the Italian farinata, which is also known as Socca in the French city of Nice.
Spain also knows dishes with chickpeas (there called garbanzos); for example, Cocido madrileño is a cooked national dish. In Provence, they make a special pastry from a mixture of chickpea and wheat flour.
Lentils – Jacob’s biblical legumes
“Jakob gave Esau bread and a lentil dish …”, so it says in the Bible. The lens (Lens culinaris) or Erve can look back on a long history.
Her archetype also comes from Asia Minor and was known many thousands of years ago. Today there are numerous different types of lenses: plate lenses, red lenses, beluga lenses, mountain lenses or Puy lenses, to name just a few.
In America, the two main regions that grow lentils are North/South Dakota, and Montana for the Northern plains, along with NE Oregon, eastern Washington, and the northern part of Idaho for the Palouse.
100 g of dried lentils contain 24 grams of protein, 41 grams of carbohydrates, very little fat and 17 grams of fiber.
They are easier to digest than peas or beans and can be valuable and inexpensive food for temporary fasting or a permanent vegetarian diet. Their high zinc content is also remarkable.
In addition, their smaller size requires less soaking and cooking time.
Soybeans – only every 50th bean ends up on the plate
The cultivation of soybeans is around 2000 BC in China. From an economic point of view, it is now a real heavyweight!
Because with 91 million tonnes, it was the world’s most traded crop after wheat (148.3 million t) and corn (109.6 million t).
Soybeans contain about 20 percent oil and 37 percent protein. We, humans, consume just two percent of the total global harvest as food (tofu etc.).
They process the majority into soybean oil in oil presses, and they use the remaining biomass as fattening feed for farm animals.
Soybeans are rich in isoflavones and linolenic acid. Unfortunately, healthy soy isoflavones are not included in all soy preparations.
Soy flour contains most of these, and you can get it in the health food store. About two tablespoons are enough, for example in the morning cereal.
Bean sprouts and tofu are also very good suppliers of isoflavones, but you should eat at least 100 grams of them.
The soy lecithin produced in soybean oil production consists of 35-50 percent protein with plenty of essential amino acids.
Lupins – the good lies so close!
The lupine belongs to the same family as chickpea, pea and peanut. The lupins also enrich the soil with nitrogen through a symbiosis with nodule bacteria, making them their own organic nitrogen fertilizer factories.
For this reason, they have so far mainly cultivated them as cover crops and mostly under-cultivated. People valued lupins for a long time, because they contain beneficial protein that we can use as a substitute for imported soy.
In Mediterranean (Mediterranean Diet & Meal Plan) countries, people eat pickled lupine seeds as television snacks (Portuguese: Tremoços).
Lopino, a tofu-like product, lupine flour and lupine milk are further options for lupine processing. In addition, one can prepare a coffee-like drink, the Altreier coffee, from the roasted fruits.
After finding out the benefits and how legumes promote health, are you interested in eating more of them now? How about a delicious chickpea pan with avocado and colorful vegetables, for example?
Let us know your stance on legumes and share your input and questions in a comment below. Perhaps you even have a recipe for us and other readers, so they can try it out, too?
We are always happily looking forward to reading from you.