Only 28 per cent of Aussies eat enough legumes. Are you missing out on their big health benefits? Dietitian Lana Hirth shows why you should embrace legumes.
Cooking with legumes is not only easy, it can be a delicious boost to any meal. No matter what type of legumes you choose — chickpeas, beans, lentils or peas — legumes will always be sure to love you back!
The fibre in legumes means that adding them to any meal is a great way to help you feel full and satisfied. Your body takes longer to digest fibre, so legumes can be a good way to manage your weight without feeling ravenous all day.
They could slow ageing
The secret to living longer may be plant-based diets. Research shows that you can help protect against certain cancers by cutting down on red meat while simultaneously taking advantage of legumes’ high levels of antioxidants.
Aim for ½ cup of legumes at least 3 times a week
They can lower cholesterol
Studies show that regularly eating legumes can start lowering your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in just three weeks. The soluble fibre in legumes lowers cholesterol absorption in your gut, which turns into a big win for your ticker.
Legumes cost a fraction of the price of meat and fish, so they’re an easy way to cut your weekly grocery bill. Whether you buy them canned or dried, you’ll definitely get bang for buck!
They’re good for the planet
Plant-based diets, of which legumes form an essential part, are much more environmentally sustainable than meat-based cuisines. It takes 7kg of grain to produce a 1kg weight gain in feedlot cattle. Eating legumes cuts greenhouse gas emissions, along with water and land usage.
5 ways with legumes
Enjoy the healthy benefits of legumes with these tasty ideas.
1 Blend chickpeas into homemade hoummos.
2 Add kidney beans to mince for taco night.
3 Warm up for winter with a split pea and ham soup.
4 Replace half the mince in your spag bol with lentils.
5 Toss cannellini beans into your favourite salad.
Canned vs Dried
Which is best?
Canned legumes are quick and easy to add to curries, soups and salads. Just drain and rinse them well to cut the salt by 40 per cent. This can also help ease tummy bloating and discomfort.
Dried legumes can take a bit more preparation, as you often need to soak them overnight before cooking.
Nutritionally, there’s no real difference between canned and dried legumes, so long as you rinse the canned version to reduce the salt. It doesn’t matter which one you use — just add them to your meals any way you choose!