Legumes’ legacy as superfoods for metabolic health reigns supreme. In a four-year study that followed the diet and health status of 3,349 individuals “at-risk” for type 2 diabetes, those who consumed the most legumes were 35 percent less likely to go on to develop diabetes vs. those consuming the least.
Legumes include beans, lentils, and peas. In this evaluation, the highest legume consumers averaged 3.35 servings a week, while the lowest consumers ate less than a half a serving per week. Of all types of legumes, lentils exhibited the most protective effects. Those who reported eating lentils, as little as one serving a week, were 33 percent less likely to get diabetes relative to those consuming less than half a serving per week. (Clin Nutr. 2018 Jun;37(3):906-913. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.03.015. Epub 2017 Mar 24.)
Loads of past studies have linked eating legumes to a multitude of benefits including heart health, brain health, improved weight control, cancer protection, longevity and more. Here are some useful tips for including more legumes in your life:
- Keep them “top of mind” with the goal of including a serving each day.
Know that canned beans are just as nutritious (and often more convenient!) than dried, fresh or frozen.
- Add them to your soups, salads, stews, and rice dishes.
- Serve them as a side dish or make more bean-based salads.
- Eat more hummus or other bean spreads.
- Throw canned beans into your meat dishes to jack-up their nutritional quality, lower their caloric density, and to “stretch” your meat dollars. (I always add a can of black beans to my meatloaf and my spaghetti dishes.)
- Keep in mind that all varieties of beans in any form (canned, fresh, dried or frozen) are GREAT for you.
- Strive to include at least one meat-less dinner each week and make some type of bean dish your main entree.
- Always rinse canned beans to lower their sodium level and to reduce their gas-producing potential.
to watch how I make my favorite bean dish, Dr. Ann’s Super Healthy Bean Salad.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Dr. Ann Kulze // DrAnnWellness.com
With formal training in nutrition and medicine, plus hands-on experience as a mother of four and family physician, Dr. Ann is a unique nutrition expert for the real world. The whole food ingredients found in Dr. Ann’s recipes are the right foods for health and vitality. Nutritional excellence naturally follows. For more, visit DrAnnWellness.com