Legume or also called as pulse or bean is a vegetable class which includes lentils, peas and most kinds of beans, even the much beloved and feared peanut. Legumes come in various shapes, sizes, and even colors. It is packed with essential nutrients and is a really healthy-for-you part of your diet.  

It is not a secret anymore that legume has a bunch of health benefits and has been shown to maybe have serious health benefits. These include being able to lower heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and also type two diabetes. Furthermore, legume owns the lowest carbon footprints compared to all of the food groups and also needs 19 times less water compared to meat. So, it is not only healthy to eat but also environmentally friendly.

So, Just How Nutritious Are Legumes?

It was mentioned earlier that legumes are packed with essential nutrition. But how nutritious are legumes? Let’s break it down, here:

  • It is a great source of vegan protein. Legumes are beans that are full of protein. By cooking 150gr of legumes, you serve one serving of protein for your body in a super low-cost way.
  • Full of nutrients, such as vitamin B, iron, zinc, calcium, folate, potassium and magnesium
  • A superfood (I personally hate that word but it kinda fits) to control blood sugar level and support weight loss. It is because legumes have a very low Glycemic Index.
  • Gluten-free. This makes legumes is magic food for people with Coeliac Disease.
  • Contains phytochemicals to protect cells from damage which lead to cancer. No, eating peanuts doesn’t cure cancer, that’s not what I’m saying at all. However, eating legumes can help with prevention and keeping you healthy.
  • Great source of pre-biotic. It helps to keep good bacteria in the gut and support them to grow.

Because of those benefits, legume is the super food which should be consumed regularly. Remember that some people may experience gas when they first consume legume, try to indulge it gradually until your gut gets used to them. Also, simple things like rinsing beans repeatedly before you cook them can also help. The reason you’re getting gas is your gut bacteria are being fed properly for once. They’ll adjust.

Why Are Legumes Suited For Vegans?

For people who are not really familiar with the vegan lifestyle might think that vegans tend to brush off the protein issue as it is mostly found in animal products. Very much not so. Vegans have so many options for their protein intake, which is why no vegan has ever been diagnosed with such extreme deficiency disease as kwashiorkor. One of the more common vegan protein sources is legumes as it is the richest plant protein source. Legumes are packed with the essential amino acid lysine which promotes the bone health and bunch of other health effects which has been mentioned above.

Legumes are really versatile. You can have baked beans on toast for breakfast or maybe some refried beans with your breakfast taco. For lunch, you can have some red bean baozi for an easy on-the-go desert. For dinner, you can have some traditional pasta fagioli.  

Hacks to Get More Legumes for Your Diet

Canned Legumes

Legumes are available in cans and can be found in any supermarket near you. Store variety of canned legumes and include it in every meal to enjoy their benefits every day. Canned beans like pinto or red beans are pretty standard and easy to cook food. In fact, baked beans on toast is a staple for my breakfast food choice.

Pre-made hummus is a good example of a canned or pre-made legume. The people in the UK are lucky, they have access to Mushy Peas, one of my all-time favorite things ever. For the Americans here, think mashed potatoes but with peas instead. Of course, a canned legume that Brits totally don’t get but is my favorite: peanut butter.

Cook It Up

If you dislike canned foods because of packaging etc, dried legumes are also a great choice and can be found easily in any supermarket. However, you will still need to soak and rinse before cooking it. If you find it hard still hard to chew, it means you need to either cook it longer or soak it overnight but you need to rinse it for once or twice since rinsing helps with gas. Then cook it and bring to the boil up to 30 – 60 minutes or until legumes become soft.

Bags of dried legumes are quite literally some of the cheapest and most nutritious food you can find. I dare you to eat a full $1 bag of dried legumes in a day. It’s a LOT of food once you hydrate it.

Ready Made Legume Meals

There are more options to consume legumes, try to eat ready – made legume meals and it is best for extra busy people or college student who want to eat anything easy, instant and healthy. Keep your pantry stocked with various ready–made legume dishes such as hummus dips, baked beans, minestrone soups, bean veggie burger, tempeh, tofu, Indian dhals (lentils, dhal are lentils). Those meals are prove that there are great and delicious ways to put legumes in your daily diet.

Some More Legume Ideas

If you love to cook, you can explore various dishes with legume as main ingredients such as chickpeas curry, Indian dhal with yellow lentils, bean mix salads and more.  However, here are some meal ideas to include legumes in your diet:

  • Bean burrito which is wrapped in whole grain tortilla, salsa and avocado
  • Use white beans for white creamy foundation for versatile cream sauce or blend with water for high protein soups
  • You will never go wrong with hummus, you can substitute red lentils, yellow lentils or even black beans as basic ingredients for delicious hummus.

Challenge yourself to add half to a serving of legumes to your diet gradually! Your body and especially your colon will thank you.


After I published this article, a seriously awesome documentary came out. It’s called Lentils: A Miracle Of Nutrition

It’s about an hour long and very very worth watching. Check it out!