Legumes is the nutritional name used to describe the group of beans and peas, also referred to as pulses. The following pages will provide you with information about the various types of legumes, their nutritional value, historical information, their methods of preparation and unique recipes. The main legumes discussed are: carob bean, chickpea, green bean, kidney bean, lentils, lima bean, mung bean, peanut, pea and soy bean. Dried legumes are one of nature’s best stores of nutrition. They are basically a seed, and when water is added, new life will develop with every day of growth.
Pre-soaking of legumes has many advantages. For some legumes it is essential in order to convert the concentrated starches, especially stachyose and raffinose, to promote better digestion. Otherwise these undigested starches get attacked by intestinal bacteria, forming carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas, and causing flatulence and a great loss of nutritional benefits.
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Raw-dried legumes also contain such substances as alkaloids, glycosides and saponin, and these are detrimental to digestion and are eliminated with long soaking and proper cooking. Pre-soaking for a few days will greatly enhance the digestion and nutrient quality of the associated legume. If you are short on time to prepare legumes, choose fresh beans, peas or try from a large variety of canned beans. They are very economical and can be stored in the pantry for those times when stocks are low or you need a big boost of energy and fibre.
Make sure that your kitchen is always well stocked with at least the essential basic legumes: chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, mung beans and soy beans. The variety of legume produce is abundant and their popularity is increasing due to the resurgence of many traditional recipes.
Legumes supply all the essential daily protein requirements and their ability to reduce blood cholesterol is a major benefit.
Generally speaking, legumes are classed as a carbohydrate food. However, millions of people throughout the world rely on legume produce for their daily protein requirements. A combination of an excess intake of animal proteins and insufficient legume produce are possibly the main contributing factors towards the multitude of heart and arterial diseases that are prevalent today.
This chapter on legumes will assist you with valuable information on the numerous legume benefits as well as ideas for methods of preparation. Once you have tried a few simple recipes, you will then realise how so many people throughout the world live to enjoy their legume meals.
Legume meals could easily replace at least two animal protein meals per week. Ideally, the balanced diet requires 20% of carbohydrates to be obtained from legumes. The legume kingdom is ready now with complete protein, numerous minerals, vitamins, abundant fibre and a beneficial slow-releasing energy. If you have the chance to order a legume meal at an authentic restaurant, treat yourself to the traditional and legendary legume flavours, textures and benefits.