What Do Legumes Contribute to Our Diets?

Adding protein, better intestinal transit... What are the other benefits of eating legumes? We'll take a look at all the advantages of regular intake of legumes so that you can include these foods in your regular diet.
What Do Legumes Contribute to Our Diets?

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 07 September, 2022

Legumes are a type of vegetable, specifically the seeds or fruits of plants. Among the most common and widely consumed are beans, soybeans, lentils and chickpeas.

For a long time, it was thought that it was advisable to limit legumes in our diets because they can cause us to gain weight. However, this is false. The only thing you should consider is that their carbohydrate intake is high, so you should watch the amounts you consume. This way, you will not have any weight problem.

Make sure to always only consume the recommended amount for your weight and height. Also, take into account your physical activity levels.

1. Legumes in the diet provide high amounts of vegetable protein

The first reason to add legumes to your diet is that they contain high amounts of vegetable protein. Protein is vital for cell development and building muscle mass in the body, as stated in a study published in Nutrients. In case you’re trying a vegetarian diet, either for moral or health reasons, adding protein can be tricky. To get around this difficulty, add more legumes!

legumes in the diet

This vegetable protein intake is also important if you’re looking to speed up your metabolism to lose weight. The reason is that high-protein diets increase the body’s ability to oxidize fat after eating. This is according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

2. Legumes can help regular your intestinal activity

Are you having trouble eliminating toxins and maintaining proper bowel transit? The best way to accelerate bowel cleansing is by consuming the right amounts of dietary fiber. In this sense, you should know that when you include legumes in your diet, you get this type of fiber. For example, one cup of cooked lentils provides 16 grams of fiber.

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This will help you stay at your ideal weight or reach it faster when you are trying to lose weight. Remember that sometimes these extra pounds aren’t really accumulated fat, but food leftovers or fluid retention that hasn’t been used by the body or eliminated.

3. You will feel full with less food

In addition to losing weight by improving intestinal transit, adding legumes to your diet will help you to feel full for several hours without overeating. This is an effect derived from the fiber that they contain. If you have already tried to lose weight, you have probably tried foods such as whole grains and seeds (such as chia). An equally simple and economical option is to include a serving of legumes.

It’s been proven that those who eat beans on a regular basis have a much lower risk of developing obesity and gaining weight. In fact, a study that followed nearly 1,500 participants for eight years yielded these results.

4. They lower cholesterol levels and improves cardiovascular health

a healthy heart

Another benefit of adding legumes to your diet is that by consuming them on a regular basis, your LDL cholesterol levels can be reduced. This is the type of cholesterol that causes damage to the heart and is linked to obesity and all the problems that derive from this condition.

However, you must remember that the simple consumption of these foods isn’t enough to keep you healthy. To ensure good health, it’s important that you include a daily sports session and a proper diet. In this way, you will keep your blood pressure, inflammation, and triglyceride levels stable. If you’re already having problems with cardiovascular health, it’s important that you see a specialist and follow their recommendations.

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5. You will help stabilize your blood glucose levels

Are you dealing with blood glucose problems? Have you been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes? These are very common problems caused by today’s lifestyle, which often includes processed foods and too many sugars.

However, you should know that including natural and healthy foods such as legumes is a good alternative to control these levels. This is because the glycemic and sugar index of legumes is low. Just remember to watch the amounts you consume, eve though they provide few sugars or are high in carbohydrates. For this reason, when consuming legumes, you should make sure you have enough physical activity.

Consume legumes to improve your health

The ideal time to consume legumes is during the morning or afternoon. Try to avoid them in the evening, as this is the time when you’re less physically active.

So, what about you? What are your favorite legumes? No matter which ones you like best, remember that it’s vital to consume them as naturally as possible. Avoid canned and processed options and opt for healthy preparations where these foods are the protagonists of the dish. Remember that increasing your consumption of these products will help improve your health.

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  • Franzke B., Neubauer O., Cameron Smith D., Wagner KH., Dietary protein, muscle and physical function in the very old. Nutrients, 2018.
  • Paddon Jones D., Westman E., Mattes RD., Wolfe RR., et al., Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr, 2008. 87 (5): 1558-1561.
  • Papanikolaou Y., Fulgoni VL., Bean consumption is associated with greater nutrient intake, reduced systolic blood pressure, lower body weight, and a smaller waist circumference in adutls: results from the national health and nutrition examination survey 1999-2002. J Am Coll Nutr, 2008. 27(5): 569-76.