Tips to Facilitate Digestion and Benefits of Legumes

Tips to Facilitate Digestion and Benefits of Legumes

Last update: 13 August, 2015

Legumes are a very nutritious and economic food, which provide you with a large amount of healthy protein. They are plants that bear their fruit in pods, which are casings with two halves, or hinges. Legumes are a very healthy food because they are low in fat and high in protein. They are also very high in fibre and other nutrients. Here we tell you more about the numerous health benefits of legumes.

Despite the fact that legumes are often said to lead to weight gain or cause poor digestion, in this article we will explain all of their benefits, as well as who they are especially recommended for, and some tips to help you eat and digest them properly.


Benefits of legumes

  • They are very nutritious and rich in carbohydrates, which is why they give you a lot of energy.
  • They are a very satisfying food that is highly recommended for healthy weight loss.
  • They are rich in protein, which is essential for growth and for athletes and pregnant women. They don’t contain as much protein as foods from animal sources, but they are much healthier.
  • They have a high amount of fibre, which is necessary for preventing fighting constipation and regulating sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • They are rich in minerals like iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, and potassium.
  • They contain vitamins like those from group B, which help regulate the central nervous system and prevent periods of stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • They eliminate excess fluids from the body.
  • They reduce the risk of contracting coronary diseases.
  • They are an economical and traditional food.

As an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, protein and fibre, legumes are a highly satisfying food. This means that for a relatively low amount of calories legumes make you feel fuller longer and, therefore, are a really useful part of a weight loss diet. For about 115 calories, a 1/2-cup serving of cooked lentils provides about 9 grams of protein, 20 grams of mostly complex carbohydrates and less than half a gram of fat. It also supplies nearly 8 grams of fiber, or 31 percent of the recommended daily value. Most legumes contain significant amounts of insoluble and soluble fibre so they promote bowel regularity and helps keep blood sugar levels in check.

Secondary benefits

Legumes are sometimes called “poor people’s meat” because they’re an inexpensive source of quality plant protein. They truly are an ideal meat substitute. Meat contains cholesterol and saturated fat, however, legumes are a cholesterol-free food that contain virtually no fat. For just over 110 calories, a 1/2-cup serving of cooked black beans delivers 32 percent, 15 percent and 14 percent of the daily values for folate, magnesium and thiamine, respectively, and about 10 percent each of the daily values for iron and potassium.


Can anyone eat legumes?

People who have uric acid or a tendency to suffer from gout attacks should control their consumption of legumes or consult their doctor beforehand.

Beans can be difficult for some people to digest because they contain oligosaccharides (starches) for which our bodies have limited stores of digestive enzymes. We do have some of the enzyme, but it resides only in our stomach bacteria, and if we don’t eat beans regularly, we probably won’t have enough of it to digest them without discomfort!

The best way to get around this problem is to gradually add more beans to your diet, which will encourage the enzyme’s presence.

List of legumes

Here is a selection of legumes that you could include in your diet:

  • Alfalfa
  • Asparagus bean
  • Asparagus pea
  • Baby lima bean
  • Black bean
  • Black-eyed pea
  • Cannellini bean
  • Chickpeas
  • Chili bean
  • Cranberry bean
  • French green bean
  • Frijol bola roja
  • Frijole negro
  • Great northern bean
  • Green bean
  • Green and yellow peas
  • Kidney bean
  • Lentils
  • Mexican black bean
  • Mexican red bean
  • Molasses face bean
  • Mung bean
  • Mung pea
  • Mungo bean
  • Navy bean
  • Pea bean
  • Peanut
  • Peruvian bean
  • Pinto bean
  • Red bean
  • Red clover
  • Red eye bean
  • Red kidney bean
  • Rice bean
  • Runner bean
  • Scarlet runner bean
  • Small red bean
  • Snow pea
  • Southern pea
  • Sugar snap pea

Cooking with legumes

Here is a delicious recipe packed with nutritious legumes:

Green beans with a punch


1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pickling spice
1 garlic clove, peeled


1. Combine dill and green beans in a medium bowl.

2. Combine vinegar and the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over bean mixture. Let stand 2 hours. Drain or serve with a slotted spoon.