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Legumes: all the benefits and contraindications

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Legumes: all the benefits and contraindications

I legumes they are among the most loved foods not only by nutritionists, for the many benefits they bring to the health of our body, but also by consumers. In fact, from a research conducted by Bonduelle Italia on 2610 people it emerged that over 90% eat legumes regularlyfor 45% they are a key element of their daily diet and 30% favor their consumption as a source of vegetable proteins with a view to sustainability.

And those who regularly consume them get their fill of nutritional properties, given that they contain fibre, group B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, carbohydrates and proteins.

Legumes: here’s how to better assimilate proteins and iron

Legumes are identified as the meat of vegetarians or vegans due to their content of proteins. However, we must remember that these proteins have low amounts of sulfur amino acids, therefore they have a low biological value. To raise it and make it truly similar to that of meat, you need to eat them together with cereals.

Also the ferro content needs to be “enhanced” in a certain sense. We know that iron in vegetables, and therefore also in legumes, is NON EME. This means that we have a harder time assimilating it. Vitamin C must therefore be added to make it more available.

What are the most common ones?

The most common legumes in our country are:

The preserved ones are also good

Fortunately, legumes do not lose their nutritional properties even during cooking. Dried legumes take a long time and are thus, as confirmed by Bonduelle Italia’s research, the most used they are the ones canned or in glass jars. In this second case, let’s remember not to throw away their conservation water because it is rich in mineral salts and soluble fibre. Since they are already salted, remember not to add more salt.

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Are legumes ok for children?

Legumes can also be consumed by children. Portions should be smaller than those of adults. Their daily fiber requirement should not exceed 8.4 grams per 1000 calories.

For children under 10 years of age the recommended portion is 30g of dried legumes or 90g of fresh legumes; from 10 to 17 years the doses can increase up to 40g of dried legumes or 120g fresh.

A higher quota could favor the onset of intestinal problems such as abdominal pain and an increase in the number of bowel movements which could reduce the absorption of some nutrients

When is it not recommended to eat legumes?

The consumption of legumes is not recommended in the presence of some diseases. «It is good to remember that these foods can cause allergies, especially soy, especially in children. In case of allergy to soy it is necessary to avoid the consumption not only of the seed legume, but also of its derivatives, such as soy sauce, sprouts, tofu. In case of favism then the consumption of broad beans is absolutely prohibited and the exclusion of peas is recommended”, warns the nutritionist Michela Barichella.

«Temporary suspension is necessary with gradual reintroduction of legumes only after the symptoms have disappeared in case of acute intestinal pathology. In case of chronic renal failure the frequency of consumption of legumes could be reduced by the nutritionist due to their quantity of potassium and phosphorus. Just as consumption is limited in case of hyperuricemia due to their purine content”, concludes the doctor.

Do legumes bloat?

Some people are particularly sensitive to compounds present in the peel. To avoid problems, the advice is to respect the soaking times with the dry version. Once cooked, pass them through a sieve by hand, without blending them.

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If you suffer from meteorism (aerophagia, flatulence and abdominal swelling) it is recommended consume hulled (without peel) or pureed legumesas the elimination of the seed coat reduces fermentation, improving the symptoms.

It’s a shame not to consume them just for fear of intestinal swelling. To solve the problem from the start, add a few bay leaves to the legume cooking water. Laurel has carminative properties, which counteract the formation of gas at the abdominal level and help its elimination.

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