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What Are Legumes?

by Ashley Terrell 13 days ago in healthy

Reintroducing The Protein Provider...

Photo credit: Unsplash

I can't be the only person who believed beans were beans. I was unaware of beans have an extended "food cousin".

This is an example of how food shouldn't confuse you.

My tastebuds were introduced to beans when I was a young girl. Later in my food journey, legumes crossed my path. I didn't know much about legumes.

Shockingly, I've experienced the earthly tones and flavors of [beans and] legumes with many food dishes I've created!

[Beans and] legumes are the fruit or seeds belonging to the flowering plant families, Fabaceae and Leguminosae.

The legume plant family is one of the largest plant families ranging from beans, peas, and peanuts. There are close to 18,000 legume species grown as herbs, vines, bushes, and trees.

The Fabaceae family consists of chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans to name a few.

Legumes are staples in plant-based diets they're low-calorie, low glycemic-indexed, and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Studies showed eating legumes can lower blood pressure and inflammation. The study also showed eating legumes can aid in reducing cardiovascular ailments, such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension.

According to Science Direct, studies found the protein found in legumes is a source of complex carbs, soluble fibers, and polyphenols.

The protein in legumes is between 20-30% of the energy we use each day.

Here are a few facts I've discovered while exploring the history of [beans and] legumes.

Photo credit: Everyday Health

There are two types of legumes.

I had no clue there were two types of legumes.

According to New World Encyclopedia, two types of legumes are grain legumes and forage legumes.

Grain legumes contain more protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Grain legumes are often fortified in [breakfast] cereals.

Legumes are known for containing oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. However, grain legumes contain higher concentrations of lipids and amino acids.

Common grain legumes are chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts.

Grain legumes can be prepared by boiling, roasting, flour-form, fried, or fermented.

Forage legumes are used mainly in grazing pastures to feed livestock.

Livestock, like cows, horses, goats, and llamas, eat and graze on forage legumes. Wildlife, like deer, elk, moose, and rabbits, also fed on forage legumes.

Forage legumes play an important role in preventing soil erosion.

Types of most common forage legumes used for livestock and wildlife are hay, forage crops, and mast.

Which legumes are part of your healthy lifestyle?

I didn't appreciate legumes prior to learning how they were the ultimate "protein provider".

As a child, I ate around the beans in my father's chili. These days, the [beans and] legumes are the first to greet my taste buds. As a flexitarian, I appreciate my taste buds' ability to love plant-based and carnivore-packed meals.

The choice of legume I like to use frequently is peas.

They're versatile as well as the earthly flavor is flexible to spice depending on my food recipe.

Many legumes, like chickpeas, are great for homemade hummus and an alternative for sandwich spread.

I've discovered lentils are a great substitution in my side dishes or to switch out recipe ingredients my taste buds are bored with.

The best part about legumes is their adaptive flavor. I like to use chicken and vegetable stock in my cooking and baking dishes. I like to use chicken stock in my chicken and rice and chili recipes!

My taste buds appreciate the flavor of vegetable stock with Stella Bistro Foods Rustic Italian Sultry Spice because the Mediterranean herbs with the sultry spice elevate the taste of my legumes.

Which legumes do you have frequently on the dinner table?

Ashley Terrell
Ashley Terrell
Read next: What Is the Best Temperature for Cooking Pizza in an Outdoor Pizza Oven?
Ashley Terrell

Bestselling author. Entrepreneur. Seasonings and spices saved my life. Where sheep and angels share the same color. Newport News, VA. Conqueror and lover of all things Fine Arts.

See all posts by Ashley Terrell

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