Legumes, much more than a hot dish

If we have to decide what is the fundamental food for our diet, the question is difficult because one of the characteristics of the Mediterranean diet is variety. But if you had to simplify and choose, undoubtedly vegetables.

What are the properties that make legumes so recommendable? The legumes are much more than a hot dish. Its health benefits are more than proven and cooking them does not require so much time thanks to new cooking tools such as pressure cookers.

Legumes, why are they so recommendable?

1. For its nutritional wealth. Legumes contain between 44 and 60 percent of carbohydrates in the form of starch, around 20 percent of proteins that are similar in quality to those of meat, a low percentage of fats, B vitamins, calcium, iron and up to 6 grams of fiber per 100. They are, therefore, one of the most complete foods that exist to be able to provide high quality energy and protein.

2. For its regulating effect on cholesterol levels. The fiber that they contain, when fermenting in the colon, causes chemical substances that induce the liver to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) and to decrease the bad (LDL). At present, the preventive effect of some compounds present in legumes against colon cancer is being studied.

3. For its ability to combine with many other foods (rice, seafood, meat, vegetables, mushrooms ...), its easy and varied preparation (salads, stews, purées ...), its affordable cost, the possibility of being prepared in advance (during the weekend), freeze and then use at home or take tupper to school or work.

Why do not we include legumes in our weekly diet?

If it is such a complete food, it is normal for many of us to ask ourselves why it is not part of our weekly diet. For certain legends or prejudices that are not entirely true. The first of them, "that the vegetables fatten a lot". In fact, the caloric value of legumes depends on how it is prepared: obviously it does not have the same caloric profile as a fabada than a chickpea salad. Another false prejudice: "the vegetables need a lot of time for their preparation". It used to be like that; but fast pans have solved this problem.

A more than millennial event

His protagonist, the prophet Daniel and his three fellow Israelites in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, who, not to break the law of Moses, did not want to eat the delicacies that the king's manager intended to give them: "Please, try ten days with your servants: that they give us legumes to eat (*) Later, that they compare our appearance and that of the young people who eat of the real table ". He accepted the proposal. After ten days

Pedro J. Toranzos. Bachelor of Pharmacy, Diploma in Dietetics and Nutrition, Master in Dietetics

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