Legumes: Nutritional Treasure On Our Plate
Legumes are probably one of the most complete foods, and in fact with low caloric value, which makes them ideal for those who want to control their weight. In winter, in fact, they are even more important as they cover to a significant degree the needs of our body in water. All they need from us is… a taste in cooking, to make them enjoyable.
During the winter, our body's needs for energy change, while strengthening our immune system is important to deal with colds, viruses and various diseases of the season.
With the right diet we can shield our body and meet its needs for this time of year. Our diet should cover our needs for energy, vitamins and other nutrients, while we should not forget the proper hydration, which is important in winter for the proper functioning of our body.
Water is the first choice to meet the body's fluid needs. However, its consumption decreases during the winter months due to low temperatures and reduced sweating compared to summer.
Decoctions-drinks, as well as soups are ways in which the body's needs for fluids can be met.
Legumes, The Precious
An important category of soups that are very common this season are those made with legumes. Legumes are a group of foods with high nutritional value.
It is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, B-complex vitamins, fiber, while at the same time they have a low glycemic index, making it a good choice in regulating blood sugar.
The health benefits of consuming legumes are significant and their strong, natural combination of fiber, protein and minerals is especially important in vegetarian and fasting diets, as they provide protein, as fasting avoids animal protein. .
The increased fiber, both soluble and insoluble in legumes, helps the proper functioning of the intestine by preventing constipation.
It is worth noting that the high content of folic acid with the simultaneous reduced content of saturated fats makes legumes a powerful cardioprotective food, helping to lower cholesterol and smoothly regulate postprandial sugar levels.
For example, a cup of cooked legumes provides us with five times the amount of fiber compared to a slice of wholemeal bread, thus covering 50% of the recommended daily intake of fiber that our body needs.
The Good Combinations
In addition, legumes are a very good source of protein and contain almost all the essential amino acids that the human body needs. In fact, we can provide high biological value protein, similar to meat if we prefer the following combinations:
- Legumes with cheese.
- Legumes with cereals (eg rice, bread, corn).
- Legumes with nuts.
In the case of vegetarian diets or fasting periods, the above combinations provide proteins for the proper functioning of the body.
Also, legumes are very low fat foods, ensuring low caloric value.
At the same time, the combination of proteins and fiber they contain contributes to the feeling of satiety, making them an ideal choice for hypocaloric shapes.
The high content of minerals in legumes is another reason to classify them as high nutritional value foods, as minerals help regulate fluid balance and smooth nutrient circulation.
Most legumes contain significant amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and copper, while their sodium content is negligible. However, calcium absorption is inhibited by the presence of fiber. At the same time, the bioavailability of iron is low, ie it is not absorbed by the body at a rate of more than 10%, due to its chemical structure. Of course, absorption can be increased by consuming foods rich in vitamin C or malic acid at the same time. Indicative combinations are the following:
- Lentils with vinegar
- Legumes with salad with peppers and parsley.
- Legumes with kiwi or orange or strawberries.
- Chickpeas with lemon.
- Legumes with white wine.
In addition, legumes are important sources of B vitamins (thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine), which contribute to the proper functioning of metabolism and the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Therefore, dishes such as lentil soups, chickpeas and beans or others such as giants, beans and salads containing some legumes, meat soups, vegetable soups, fish soups, are ways to meet the body's needs for fluids, but at the same time provide a variety of micronutrients and macronutrients, necessary for the proper functioning of the body.
Vegetable soups can cater to all tastes, as they are made with meat, chicken, fish and seasonal vegetables, providing the body with a wealth of nutrients as well as a significant amount of fluids, especially during the winter months. In addition, they are an ideal choice for hypocaloric shapes, as the fat content can be adjusted (by adding butter or olive oil). In addition, the preparation of the soup is easy, fast and without special expenses, while at the same time it gives us the opportunity to incorporate in the diet the vegetables, the variety of which is significantly reduced during the winter.