Legume family importance and protein content|
December 21 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D. institute of nutrition and natural health

Legume definition - a pod, such as that of a pea or bean, that splits into two valves with the seeds attached to one edge of the valves. Many legumes are edible by humans.

Role in society
Legumes are plants of the pea or bean family. They are one of the largest families of flowering plants with 18,000 species. Legumes are used as crops, forages and green manures. They also synthesize a wide range of natural products such as flavors, drugs, poisons and dyes. Legumes also provide edible oils, gums, fibers, and raw material for plastics, and some are ornamentals.

Legume and Protein
Legumes perform the invaluable act of nitrogen fixation. Because they contain many of the essential amino acids, legume seeds can balance the deficiencies of cereal protein.

Types
Included in the legume family are acacia, alfalfa, beans, broom, carob, clover, cowpea, lupine, mimosa, peas, peanuts, soybeans, and tamarind.

Legumes and Health
A higher legume intake is the most protective dietary predictor of survival amongst the elderly, regardless of their ethnicity. Legumes have been associated with long-lived food cultures such as the Japanese (soy, tofu, natto, miso), the Swedes (brown beans, peas), and the Mediterranean people (lentils, chickpeas, white beans). Legume family. Consumption may help maintain healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Nutr J. 2013. Effects of legume kernel fibers and citrus fiber on putative risk factors for colorectal cancer: a randomised, double-blind, crossover human intervention trial. The tested fibre preparations do not affect lipid metabolism through bile acid-binding in normocholesterolaemic subjects. However, particularly blue lupin kernel fibre improve colonic function and have beneficial effects on putative risk factors for colorectal cancer such as faecal mass, transit time, SCFA, faecal pH, and secondary bile acid concentration. Therefore, enhancing dietary fibre intake through blue lupin up to about 50 g/d can be recommended.