“People who consume legumes regularly are less prone to heart attacks or cardiovascular problems. Numerous studies found a direct correlation between its intake and a lower risk of suffering from coronary heart disease “, assures the nutritionist of the Pergamino Center for Bariatric Surgery team Ana Laura Bulgarelli, and explains that legumes are a very important source of protein, fiber, iron and vitamins, and they offer numerous health benefits.
“Legumes contain amino acids, which are the raw material of the proteins that the body uses to regenerate and produce new tissues (bones, muscles, hair, skin and blood). Protein is an essential macro-nutrient ”, Bulgarelli remarks.
Among the benefits that legumes have on human health, the nutritionist adds that being rich in fiber can help stabilize blood glucose levels or even prevent diabetes. In addition, the specialist cites studies that showed that beans act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, and that these effects could reduce the risk of intestinal and colorectal cancer and, due to its isoflabones, also breast cancer.
Ana Laura Bulgarelli, nutritionist of the Pergamino bariatric surgery center team.
“They contain B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc and phosphorus. Iron facilitates the transport of oxygen in the blood. Good muscle health is guaranteed by the supply of magnesium. Another essential mineral for health is manganese, which metabolizes amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids, and is a source of energy. Zinc is a trace element that strengthens the defenses. For its part, phosphorus contributes to the formation of bones and teeth and allows the body to store energy. Together with the B vitamins, it improves kidney function and nerve signals ”, describes Bulgarelli, and then adds that legumes They provide a wide variety of amino acids, and they are good allies for vegetarians or vegans to consume protein on a day-to-day basis.
How to preserve and prepare them
Among the tips for preparing and preserving legumes, the specialist recommends rinsing them to remove seed pods, leaves or twigs, soak them in plenty of water to reduce cooking time and save vitamins, minerals and proteins that are lost during prolonged cooking, and once cooked, refrigerate or freeze in an airtight and clean container.
The consumption of legumes in Argentina, as detailed by the nutritionist, is estimated in the order of 300 grams per year per inhabitant distributed among the three main legumes (140 gr. of beans, 100 gr. of peas and 50 gr. of chickpeas).
“It is possible that one of the reasons for their low consumption is associated with the difficulty in digestion, fermentation, and definitely, the lack of consumption habit and awareness of the need to include them. It is super important to comment that like all food that we usually consume sporadically, our metabolism does not assimilate in the same way as if we did it regularly. The ways of cooking, combination and quantity play a great role in making them better digested. Another very important point is to work on chewing, meal time and in what context I am eating ”, he remarks.