So, whats so super about legumes?
Legumes can make a quick, cheap and healthy high-protein meal with a range of health benefits!
These little superfood hero’s come in many forms – whether it be lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans or cannellini beans (the list goes on!).
Legumes are great because they are:
- Full of fibre – filling us up, assisting in cholesterol control and promoting a healthy bowel.
- Low-GI – assisting in blood glucose control, and keeping you full for longer.
- A source of resistant starch (check out our great article all about RS here).
- A source of carbohydrate for long-lasting energy!
- A great source of plant-based protein.
- Full of vitamins and minerals, including B-vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
- Economical and easy – you can pick up a tin of cooked legumes for just 80 cents a pop!
Legumes and FODMAPs
They don’t say “Beans beans the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot” for nothing!
Legumes are a source of FODMAPs (fermentable sugars) – which is why they cause gas, and can be a problem for those with IBS. If following a low-FODMAP diet for IBS, it is best to stick to the MONASH guidelines in terms of what and how much legumes to include. For example, a 1/4 cup canned chick peas or 1/2 cup lentils is acceptable while following this diet.
The fermentable sugars in legumes are known as the ‘oligosaccharides.’ This type of sugar is malabsorbed by everybody – not just those with IBS. This means that the oligosaccharides are not absorbed in our small intestine. Thus, they travel to our large intestine, where certain gut bacteria feed on them (they helps the good bugs grow!) and produce gas. People with IBS are just more sensitive to this effect than others (meaning gas, bloating, pain and altered bowel habits).
These oligosacchardies are also water soluble. Thus, if a food containing them is put into water these sugars can come out of the food and into the water! This is a positive for those sensitive to legumes – as it means the fermentable sugar content can be reduced.
I want to eat more legumes – what should I do!?
Adding a lot of legumes quickly is likely to result in gas. If you aren’t used to them, introduce them slowly. Try a legume-based meal on meatless Monday! When you adjust, we encourage including legume-based meals at least 4 times a week! 150g of legumes provides a good serve of protein.
Dried legumes: Soak and rinse before cooking to reduce FODMAP content. Strain and rinse after cooking if possible.
Canned legumes: Super easy and lower than dried legumes in FODMAP content! Make sure to rinse these well under running water.
Legumes work with so many meals – add to a salad or soup, make tacos or burritos, power up some veggie/meat patties, add to a curry, roast for a snack… the options are endless (and often really easy!).
Recipe Idea: A standard meal for many is a classic spaghetti bolognese. Try replacing half the mince with lentils to boost the health benefits and reduce the cost!
By: Ellie Wiltshire
Image sourced from pinterest.