Looking for a healthy, inexpensive protein that can boost your immune system and help you live longer? Take legumes the next time you go to the grocery store.
According to a 2022 study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, replacing red meats and processed foods with legumes, whole grains and vegetables can increase life expectancy by more than a decade for people in their 20s or 20s. thirties.
Legumes: The Most Underrated Longevity Food
Many people don’t instantly think of legumes when it comes to longevity foods. But as a nutritionist, I eat them every day as part of my vegan diet to keep my body strong and help fight disease.
The most common varieties of legumes are beans, including black beans, lentils, soybeans, fava beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, edamame, and lima beans.
Here are some key health benefits of legumes:
- Protein: Legumes are an excellent source of protein, essential for many biological functions. A cup provides five to 10 grams of protein.
- Fiber: Legumes are an important source of dietary fiber – one cup contains 4 to 14 grams. Fiber helps boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, manage blood sugar and weight, and improve gastrointestinal health.
- Minerals: Legumes contain minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. These play an essential role in processes such as oxygen utilization and immune function.
- Antioxidants: Beans contain several polyphenolic compounds (i.e. healthy plant chemicals), including tannins, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. They are powerful antioxidants that repair cells and tissues.
All of these nutritional characteristics may protect against chronic disease, according to research.
In fact, the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association recommend eating legumes as an alternative to animal protein to help reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
How to add more legumes to your diet
As a busy professional, I love being able to create a variety of delicious, nutrient-dense meals with legumes.
You can buy prepackaged dried pulses at most supermarkets and health food stores. It may seem like a lot of preparation is required, but most of that time is just the soaking process, which doesn’t require any extra work on your part.
You can also cook legumes in large quantities and store them in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer:
- Cook the beans well.
- Rinse them and let them soak for at least five hours.
- Drain the soaking water and cook the beans in cool boiling water (212 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 10 minutes.
- Don’t cook dried beans in slow cookers or slow cookers because the temperature isn’t high enough to deactivate lectins, a potentially toxic chemical found in raw beans.
Canned beans are already cooked, so all you need to do is toss them into your soup, chili, pasta, sauce, burrito, or vegetable stir-fry.
1. Forget the meat by replacing burgers with burgers made from legumes.
When tossed with fun spices and flavors, homemade bean and lentil burgers can be just as tasty as their meaty counterparts. that you use black beans, navy beans or lentils, you can’t go wrong with a bean patty on a whole wheat bun.
2. Replace the mayonnaise with creamy hummus.
With the help of a food processor or blender, homemade hummus is easier to make than you might think, and it makes a healthier, higher-fiber spread than mayonnaise.
3. Mash legumes for easy dips.
Thanks to the neutral taste of legumes, the spices can really elevate them in any type of party dip you’re looking to create. From cheese to savory to sweet, the possibilities are endless.
4. Ditch the crisps for bean crisps.
If you’re stuck in an afternoon low, crunchy oven-roasted beans can be a satisfying and energizing snack. Lupini beans, fava beans and chickpeas all get crispy in the oven and are easy to prepare in large batches for servings throughout the week.
5. Incorporate them into soups to add fiber.
Lentil soup is a hearty meal for lunch or dinner in winter. For more variety, you can also try making other legume-based soups, such as split pea soup, pasta and fagioli, or white bean and escarole soup.
6. Hide the beans in the brownies.
If you like sweets, black bean brownies are a delicious dessert that packs a punch of fiber in every serving.
Samantha Heller, MS, RD, CDN, is a Registered Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist. She is a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York. Follow her on Twitter and instagram and Facebook.
#Nutritionist #Shares #Underrated #Longevity #Foods #Eats #Day #Boost #Immune #System