New Delhi: Legumes are a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas, peanuts and lentils which are the most versatile and nutritious foods available. A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol. Along with great taste, legumes have many health benefits:
• Legumes are excellent sources of low-glycemic index carbohydrates, essential micronutrients, fiber, folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and antioxidants.
• They are high in soluble fiber, and adding cooked beans to your daily diet may lower blood cholesterol by as much as 18 percent, decreasing the risk of heart disease.
• Substituting legumes for foods that are high in saturated fats or carbohydrates may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
• Legumes are rich in a number of compounds that could potentially reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
• There are prebiotics in beans which can help in beneficial bacteria growth in the intestine.
• All legumes, and especially soy, are important in vegetarian diets for their high protein content.