What are legumes

What are legumes

What are legumes: list of legumes to be consumed fresh or dried. Botanical information and advice on less known but equally nutritious legumes.

After having seen the list of cereals, let's review the legumes. What they are, what they are and which ones you can eat fresh. Let's start from what they are and then see thecomplete list of legumes.

If you think you know legumes, you may be wrong: peanuts, lupins and soy are legumes too!

What are legumes

Legumes are a family of dicotyledonous plants botanically known asFabaceae or Leguminosae.In food jargon, forlegumeit means the typical seed of plants belonging to the Leguminosae or Fabaceae family.

In the fabaceae family there are not only plants for food use but also trees that fall within the sub-family of the Caesalpinioideae. Distant relatives of the legumes that see trees such as mimosa (Acacia), Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum), black locust (robinia pseudoacacia) and grenadilla (Dalbergia melanoxylon) listed in the Fabaceae subfamily.

Among the trees used for food purposes we point out the tamarind and the carob. Ceratonia siliqua, in fact, is currently used for the production of animal feed but for a long time it has been used to prepare flours for human consumption. In small peasant centers, even today, the carob is a legume used for human nutrition. Also there licorice (Glycyrrhiza) belongs to the Legume family.

Legumes: list

In this paragraph we point out alist of legumesused for food purposes.

  • Broad bean. Botanical name, vicia faba
  • Soy. Botanical name, Glycine max
  • Pea. Botanical name, Pisum sativum
  • Chickpea. Botanical name, Cicer arietinum
  • Bean. Botanical name, Phaseolus vulgaris
  • Lentil. Botanical name, Lens culinaris
  • Peanut. Botanical name, Arachis hypogaea (recently included in the Legume family)
  • Lupins (Lupinus albus)
  • Cicerchia Cicerchia (Lathyrus sativus), little known in the rest of the world, among the typical vegetables of the Italian regions.

There are also some less known legumes in Italy but equally interesting. The Ground pea, for example, of the speciesSubterranean vineyard it is widely used in West Africa, eaten fresh or dried. The Earth pea is shown in the photo below. If you have never heard of it, do not worry: only 244 thousand tons are produced per year and the production area is small.

Types of legumes: beans and lentils

When it comes tolegumesfor food purposes, it is important to refer not only to the species but also to the different varieties. For example, there are several species of beans and also several varieties.

FAO recognizes:

  • Dried beans, Phaseolus spp including the Vigna species
  • Phaseolus vulgaris, Round bean
  • Lima bean or butter bean, Phaseolus lunatus
  • Vigna angularis, Axuki bean
  • Mung bean or green soybean, Vigna radiata
  • Black bean, Indian bean or mung bean, Vigna mungo
  • Risocea or rice bean, "rice bean", umbellata vineyard (in the photo below)
  • Green bean, Vigna aconitifolia
  • Tepary bean, Phaseolus acutifolius
  • Eye bean, Vigna unguiculata (typical of Umbria and Marche)
  • Congo bean, Cajanus cajan (which is actually a pea!)

The same could be said with lentils: there is no shortage of red, black and yellow lentils. In addition, some legumes can be eaten fresh or dried or with the whole pod as occurs with snow peas, green beans and some varieties of broad bean.

Do not forget the Alfaalfa or alfalfa (Medicago sativa).It is the most used species of legumes but it is little known because it is mainly used as forage. It is part of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family, cultivated mainly in Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Marche and Veneto. Contains eight digestive enzymes, phytoestrogens, bioflavonoids, glycosides, flavones, alkaloids, amino acids, vitamins (especially A, C, D, E and K).

Fresh or dried legumes

In fact, all legumes can be eaten fresh. Fresh legumes are those of the season: beans, broad beans, peas, snow peas, lentils, chickpeas ... as soon as they are picked, they can be used fresh to prepare for any recipe. The same legumes, dried, can be consumed at any time of the year.

Legumes: soaking

Dried legumes, before cooking, should be re-hydrated and left to soak for a period ranging from 5 to 12 hours. Dried legumes to leave insoaking, should be preferred to canned legumes; the reason? The sodium content. Legumes are good for your health but… when canned, they can have several contraindications.

Canned storage of foods - including legumes - adds a large amount of sodium making the product contraindicated for those suffering from arterial hypertension. THE canned legumes they are also bad for those suffering from water retention and for those looking for remedies against cellulite.

Although canned legumes are considered "fresh", it is advisable to soak them to drain the salt (sodium). Before consuming canned legumes, they should be rinsed thoroughly in running water or left to soak for 10 minutes in fresh water.

Legumes: properties and benefits

Thecontraindicationsare mainly linked to the consumption oflegumesin box. In the absence of food allergies or specific diseases (such as irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulitis), ilegumesbring manybenefitsto the body.

THEnutritional values and the propertythey vary from legume to legume but all bring the followingbenefits.

What are legumes good for? All legumes (fresh or dried) do not contain cholesterol, provide very little fat and a good portion of vegetable protein.

Legumes are an excellent source of "resistant starch" that manages to overcome the gastro-intestinal tract and remain in the fatty intestine where they improve the intestinal flora and promote the production and absorption of short-chain fatty acids.

Some studies claim that the consumption of legumes can lower the risk of insulin resistance syndrome (metabolic syndrome).

It has been shown that frequent consumption of legumes can help reduce blood pressure and induce a reduction in cholesterol levels.

Video: 6 Amazing Reasons Why You Should Eat Legumes Daily, The Exciting Health Benefits! (January 2022).