Legumes are ripe, air-dried seeds of plants that grow in fruiting pods. From a botanical point of view, they belong to the legume family, also called “Leguminosae” or “Fabaceae”.
Legumes are distinguished according to their size, uniformity, shape, color, as well as cooking ability. When purchasing, make sure the seeds (the beans) are clean, smooth, shiny, and free of circular holes or black discoloration, as these can indicate poor quality produce, or worm and insect infestation. It is best to reach for clear packaging to check this at first glance. When you open the package, the legumes should smell fresh and spicy.
Legume cuisine does not get boring easily: After all, there are well over 12,000 different varieties. Legumes are very high in protein, contain many complex carbohydrates, provide plenty of fiber and, with the exception of soybean, contain relatively little fat with 1-2%.
Most legumes provide abundant B vitamins in particular, including B1, B2 and B3, as well as folic acid. Like the minerals iron and phosphorus, they are important for blood formation, the strength of bones and for the brain, the whole metabolism and strong nerves. They are also rich in secondary plant substances such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant and detoxifying effects.
These ingredients also explain the positive influence on blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure, which has already been impressively proven in some studies. (https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/52122/Diabetes-Huelsenfruechte-senken-Blutdruck-und-HbA1c-Wert#group )
Legumes are best stored in a dry, airy and dark place: Filled into screw-top jars or cans and stored in the kitchen cabinet. Unpeeled legumes can be kept for several years, peeled ones up to six months.
Before cooking, legumes should be soaked in water. Seeds that float on top are not edible and should be removed. Lentils and shelled peas can then be cooked immediately, all other dried legumes must first be soaked, usually overnight. Please follow the package instructions! Since some legumes contain toxins, they should boil bubbly for about ten minutes and then continue cooking until they are soft. In general, it is recommended add salt to legumes after cooking, otherwise they will not become soft; and to cool them quickly after cooking. When stored in a warm environment, legumes start to ferment quickly.
For a long time, dishes with legumes were considered “poor people’s food” and people thought of thick soups and stews. With a little creativity, a number of different delicious dishes can be conjured up. From fresh salads to patties to noble vegetable side dishes, the most diverse meals can be prepared.
Flour and pasta produced from legumes and Metabolic Balance
Whether lentils, beans or peas – legumes are very important for a balanced and healthy nutrition. Due to many valuable ingredients, legumes are therefore also found in many Metabolic Balance nutrition plans, provided that the blood values and preferences allow it. Since legumes tend to be “acidic” foods, they should, for example, be on the menu less often for people with an over acidic stomach, gastrointestinal ulcers, kidney disease or gout. However, the acid-base ratio can be easily balanced if the legumes are combined with whole grains, potatoes or vegetables.
To further increase the popularity of the colorful seeds, more and more products are entering the market, from flour made from various legumes to pasta and so-called “granules” which are mostly made from soy, supermarket shelves are nowadays full of products based on legumes.
Metabolic Balance participants often ask themselves whether they are allowed to eat flour or pasta made from legumes, since these usually contain only the legume and no other additives. Basically, they should keep in mind that pasta from legumes is a very highly processed product.
The unprocessed, raw legumes or even those preserved in water have much more nutrients, so it is not the same whether you eat natural legumes or pasta made from legumes.
Therefore, we recommend to integrate these pasta and flour alternatives into the menu only from phase 3 and also not to enjoy them too often, i.e. 1-2 times a week at the most. Soy granules, on the other hand, are produced with extreme technological input and are so highly processed that virtually no nutrients remain. That is why specialists and coaches at Metabolic Balance recommend avoiding granules.
Basically, it is always worthwhile to looking at the real food, which is nutrient dense. With regional organic prouce you will get the highest quality.