These are a rich source of fiber and vitamin. Legumes are an essential part of the food culture, especially in the Indian Subcontinent. They are rich in protein and are often used for replacing meat in a vegetarian diet.
The dictionary defines legumes as a seed, pod or dried fruit of a leguminous plant consumed as food. Legumes are best consumed after being prepared that is either soaked, absorbed, cooked or fermented as it improves their digestibility and also takes away most of their gas-causing agents.
There are various types of legumes available for human consumption. Each of them is rich in protein and fiber and do possess their taste and features.
Types of Legumes
The various types of commonly available legumes are categorized under the following heads:
One of the field pea varieties is known to be the out of the first few crops that were domesticated. Fresh peas are usually consumed as vegetables. They are also easily available in the frozen form. They are further available in the following subtypes:
- (a) Dun Peas
- (b) Black Eyed Peas
- (c) Blue Peas
- (d) Maple Peas
- (e) White Peas
The lentils are considered a good way to add proteins to your vegetarian diet. They are available in various shapes and sizes. They are often dried before being sold in the markets. The most common available lentils:
- (a) Yellow lentils
- (b) Red lentils
- (c) Green lentils
- (d) French lentils.
- (e) Quick Lentils
Chickpeas can come in two varieties. They are usually dehulled before being sold and have a delicious nutty flavor to it. The two famous chickpeas are the desi and Kabuli ones. The other varieties of chickpea are:
- (a) Pedrosillano chickpea
- (b) Milky Chickpea
- (c)Castilian Chickpea
Many beans fall under the category of legumes. They have a rich carb and protein content but low in their fat content.
Often considered nuts these are legumes. Their structure and nutritional value are exactly like other legumes, but due to their flavor and texture, they are used as nuts.
Soybeans serve as an important source of vegetable oil along with protein. They can be consumed with or without their pods. These beans are further used to create an array of products.
These oval shaped seeds usually come in two subtypes which are:
- (a) Australian Sweet lupins
- (b) Albus Lupin
Further, some commonly known varieties of legumes are:
8) Asparagus Beans
These beans are usually light green, but the seed produced by them is dark brown. Not just the seed but the whole bean is edible.
9) Green Beans
Snap beans and string beans are also the names for these beans. They are usually lengthy green pods with green seeds. Just get rid of the ends, and these beans can be consumed the way you want.
10) Kidney Beans
Their shape fetches them this name. They are also known as red beans or Mexican red beans. These are usually bought dry from the markets and need to soften and so are soaked before cooking.
11) Navy Beans
These white oval shaped beans are a native of Italy. These beans too are often soaked before cooking to soften them.
12) Garbanzo Beans
These beans provide a large content of fiber and protein along with folate to your body. These beans are also known for their ability to prevent us from cholesterol, diabetes and even improves our gut health.
13) Pinto Beans
These beans are sold without their pods and only after drying. These are most easily available in the U.S.A. They are called pinto beans as they look like they have been painted.
14) Adzuki Beans
These beans are deep red in color and small in size. These are majorly used in desserts.
15) Anasazi Beans
These beans are either red or white and are distant cousins of pinto beans with a similar flavor and appearance though they are shaped like the kidneys.
16) Wax Beans
These yellow beans are received from yellow pods. They are similar to green beans and can be consumed like them.
17) Southern Peas
These are also known as cowpeas and are dried before selling. These also need to soak before cooking to soften them.
18) Dwarf Beans
They are also known as bush peas and are generally grey. They can consume raw too.
19) Mung Beans
The bean generally used for sprouting which is small rounded and green is the mung bean. They are an integral part of Indian and Chinese.
20) English Peas
The garden peas are also called English peas. They are easily available frozen or canned. These are green in color and are usually round and can be consumed as per your convenience.
21) Snow Peas
Those green peas which are consumed while they are still in their pods are called the snow peas. They have a flat pod.
It is a leguminous root used to sweeten many edible products. Its seeds and pod are also fit for consumption.
This plant produces beautiful purple blooms. They can be consumed raw or sprouted. They are generally grown to feed the livestock.
24) Black Beans
These beans are rich in folate, proteins, and fiber. Their low glycaemic index as compared to other carb-rich food items makes them a healthy edible option.
These beautiful vines usually grow in hot or moderately hot climates. And are also famously known as bush clovers.
26) Sugar Snap Peas
These are similar to snow peas, but their pods are not flat. They are usually round.
These legumes generally grow themselves in those areas where the nitrogen balance is not maintained they are used for feeding the livestock.
28) Cannellini Beans
These low-fat beans are creamy and buttery in texture. Along with fiber, protein, and folate, they are rich in magnesium and iron too.
29) Lima Beans
They are also called Butterbeans due to their buttery smooth texture.
Health Benefits of Legumes
All these legumes individually are healthy and beneficial for your body in many different ways.
1) Just adding legumes in your diet can help you maintain a healthy heart.
2) Legumes help in reducing bad cholesterol and regulating good cholesterol levels of your body.
3) Their high fiber content aids in taking care of digestion and also control your bowel movement.
4) Since legumes by themselves have no sugar content and thus, help in curbing on your sugar intake for the day.
5) The antioxidant content of legumes fights allergies and boosts your immune system.
6) They are rich in protein and thus, are good for your body as proteins are responsible for making the cells of your body which are the structural unit of life.
7) The high magnesium and potassium content of legumes helps in maintaining the stress levels of our body relieving us of anxiety and other stress issues.
Lastly, you have the choice to pick and choose the best-tasting legume for yourself to compensate for all your nutritional needs.
Legumes are considered the third best source of protein and the first one for vegetarians. So, grab your favorite and cherish the nutritional value that your body is about to get.