The OMNIHeart Diet, a newer version of the “Mediterranean diet” advocates for the consumption of legumes 5 days out of the week. Legumes include, dry peas, dry beans, lentils and chickpeas and PEANUTS! Though many people associate green beans, green peas, and soybeans with legumes, they are in fact not related.
The major difference between legumes and soy nuts is the amount of fat that is found in them. Whereas soy nuts have some fat in them, legumes are almost fat free!
Who would benefit from legumes?
This simple answer is Everyone! They are a good source of protein, are low in fat and contain many healthy nutrients including, fibre, potassium, iron and folic acid. Because they are a non-animal based, gluten free protein, with a good source of fiber, they would benefit anyone who suffers from high cholesterol, have issues with constipation, have celiac disease and/or are vegetarians/vegan.
Legumes are a very high source of both soluble and insoluble fibres. Soluble fibre is the fibre that helps to lower cholesterol, as well as slows the absorption of sugars. Insoluble fibres help keep your bowels moving. Having this combination is part of what makes legumes a healthy powerhouse :).
Here are some quick and easy ways to eat more legumes today!
1. Make a mexican omelet by adding black beans and salsa!
2. substitute half the meat for pureed beans in meat sauces and meat loafs. Its a nice way to go “meat-light” instead of “meat-free”! This can lower the fat and boost fiber in your meals!
3. Enjoy Mexican night! Add ½ cup black beans to a quesadilla along with your favourite other fillings
4. Drain and puree 1 cup of legumes with your favourite herb and use as a sandwich spread
5. Add ½ cup of cooked pulses to soups or stews to thicken instead of using potato
6. Add a handful of your favourite bean as a topping on pizza
7. Include 1 cup of chickpeas to any salad for a different twist.