Health Benefits Of Legumes: 8 Types Of Legumes And Their Health Benefits

8 Different Legumes And Their Major Health Benefits

by | Aug 27, 2020

Very clever. A 2016 study from the University of Copenhagen found people who ate a serving of legumes at one meal consumed 12 per cent fewer kilojoules at their next. Another paper in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found those who consumed legumes on the regs were slimmer and had a lower risk of becoming obese later in life than those who didn’t.

“It all comes down to their high-fibre content, which means they’re great for digestion,” adds Bond. “They also feed the good bacteria in your gut, which we now know is beneficial to your overall health.” Full of beans? You will be.

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Dietary Fibre

1. Baked beans

  • 100g = 326kJ
  • 3.7g fibre
  • 4.7g protein
  • 0g sat fat

THE BENEFITS

If you’d already written off your childhood staple, don’t be so hasty. “Baked beans are an incredibly good source of fibre, but some cans contain higher levels of salt and sugar than others,” says Bond. So look out for low-salt versions. Oh, and don’t forget the farts. “Baked beans can trigger IBS symptoms in some people.”

HOW TO EAT THEM

On toast, after a bad day. Nothing beats it.

beans

Getty Images

2. Black beans

  • 100g = 552kJ
  • 16g fibre
  • 21g protein
  • 0.2g sat fat

THE BENEFITS

Most of us first discovered these in our local Chinese. But takeaways aside, these beans are a great staple to keep in your pantry. “They’re a good source of calcium, magnesium and zinc to support bone health,” says Bond. Plus, potassium, along with magnesium, is “good for heart health”.

HOW TO EAT THEM

“They work well in stir-fries and a chilli con carne, too.” Dish up!

health benefits of black beans

Getty Images

3. Lentils

  • 100g = 485kJ
  • 8g fibre
  • 9g protein
  • 0.1g sat fat

THE BENEFITS

Costing around 80 cents a tin, they’re one of the cheapest foods you can find, so it’s worth learning your way around a few lentil recipes. But batch-cooking the week before payday isn’t all they’re good for. “Lentils are particularly low in fat, full of fibre and are associated with better heart health,” says Bond. “They’re also thought to slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed.” Genius.

HOW TO EAT THEM

Red make great dals, green make delicious stews and brown are good for bulking out a salad.

health benefits of lentils

Getty Images

4. Chickpeas

  • 100g = 686kJ
  • 8g fibre
  • 9g protein
  • 0g sat fat

THE BENEFITS

“Chickpeas are a filling, fibrous legume full of iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and vitamin K, so they’re good for bone health,” says Bond. “They contain B vitamins, which help convert food into energy.”

HOW TO EAT THEM

“They’re the main ingredient of hummus, so buy a tub (or make your own). Raw chickpeas can take an age to cook, but the tinned variety are great for throwing into a curry,” she adds.

health benefits of chickpeas

Getty Images

5. Pinto beans

  • 100g = 414kJ
  • 8g fibre
  • 7g protein
  • 0.13g sat fat

THE BENEFITS

An excellent source of fibre and folate, pinto beans are also home to some energy-boosting B vitamins and iron. One study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that pinto beans contain powerful antioxidants, known as polyphenols, which can help prevent your overall risk of certain cancers. Another study found half a cup a day can help lower cholesterol levels.

HOW TO EAT THEM

Cook up a Middle Eastern storm of tacos and salads.

health benefits of pinto beans

Getty Images

6. Soybeans

  • 100g = 724kJ
  • 6g fibre
  • 16g protein
  • 1.3g sat fat

THE BENEFITS

Soybeans are known for being a potent source of protein – on par with meat – so they’re often processed into other foods, such as milk, tofu or miso soup. They can also be eaten fresh from the pod, when they’re known as edamame beans.

HOW TO EAT THEM

From the pod, with sea salt.

health benefits of soybeans

Getty Images

7. Kidney beans

100g = 485kJ 6.2g fibre 7g protein 0.1g sat fat

THE BENEFITS

“Kidney beans are a good source of zinc, which helps … your immune system,” says Bond. “They contain a natural toxin called lectin, so [cook] carefully if you buy them raw. Canned kidney beans are fine because they’ve been through a process to remove this toxin.”

HOW TO EAT THEM

Drain, rinse, toss and throw into a salad.

kidney beans

Getty Images

8. Peanuts

  • 100g = 2372kJ
  • 9g fibre
  • 26g protein
  • 7g sat fat

THE BENEFITS

Peanuts might seem like an impostor in a line-up of legumes, but they’re from the ground, so they’re legit. “[Peanuts] are a fantastic source of resveratrol, an antioxidant believed to offer protection against heart disease,” says Bond. But be mindful of how many you eat in one go, as fat = kilojoules, and they’re mega moreish. Aim for about 30g, which is a small handful. And try to buy the unsalted ones.

HOW TO EAT THEM

Keep a pack in your desk drawer for the 3pm snack attack or add them to Thai curries or noodles for a little extra crunch. Yum. 

Recommended to you

More From