The legume or moth family includes dicotyledons. It is the third largest among all plants and is distinguished by the diversity of its species. Thus, some legumes are considered to be very important food products (lentils, beans, beans, peanuts, peas), and some – important feed crops (alfalfa, rank, serradella, vetch, etc.). In addition, a considerable part of the plants from this family are pleasing to the eye with excellent flowers (mimosa, acacia, clover).
The nutritional value of these plants was appreciated by the ancient Mediterranean civilizations. It is known that the ancient Roman warriors who conquered half the world ate mainly lentils and barley, and peas and beans were repeatedly found in the tombs of the pharaohs. No less important legumes were in the old Russian cuisine.
Today, plants of this family are found everywhere, but some countries are leaders in growing one or another crop. Soybean, for example, is mainly cultivated in China, the USA and the states of Southeast Asia, chickpeas in India, beans in South America, Asia and Eastern Europe, and peas in China and the Soviet Union countries.
The famous American writer Theodore Dreiser called beans the best nutrition for the brain. It’s not for nothing that these products are considered to be an important component of Japanese cuisine: after they banned meat from the rising sun, the beans became the main source of protein, and inventive Japanese created dozens of dishes from them.
There are several small secrets of storage and preparation of particularly tasty and nutritious beans. They should be kept in a cool, dry place in tightly closed cans, and in no case should they be left near heat sources, for example, near a battery or a stove. With proper savings, these cultures retain their valuable qualities for about 6 months. You need to cook, legumes, which have a smooth and clean surface with bright colors. Dim, shriveled and damaged seeds indicate that they were stored for a very long time or over-dried.
It is important to remember that dark-colored legumes due to the higher content of starch in them are characterized by a richer flavor than light. Therefore, dishes from dark seeds are more nourishing and appetizing. Before cooking, almost all legumes must be soaked for a couple of hours in water, which must be changed periodically. Such flushing will contribute to a better digestibility of legumes, prevent their acidification and remove excess phytic acid.
Salt legumes should be when they soften, as salt can significantly increase the cooking time. This also applies to vinegar, sugar, tomato paste, sauerkraut, soy sauce, wine. But onion, bay leaf, garlic, seaweed and turmeric should be added during cooking.
In terms of their popularity, various legumes are almost as good as each other in world cooking. From the beans, lentils, peas, Masha and soybeans they cook soup and soup, make side dishes, pancake stuffing and noodles, bake cakes. And in the East, chickpeas (sandy peas) even prepare many traditional dishes: Jews make falafel, and Arabs make hummus.
The composition and beneficial properties of legumes
Most food crops of this family contain a set of vitamins (A, C, PP and group B) and minerals (iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, manganese, etc.). Legumes are rich in valuable proteins, carbohydrates, starch, fats and fiber. In terms of protein content, they even surpass meat, therefore they are an excellent alternative for vegetarians.
Nutritionists believe that legumes should make up about 10% of our diet.
Due to the high fiber content, the use of legumes brings tremendous benefits to the cardiovascular system. As a result, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are reduced, and the work of the heart and blood vessels is improved.
Saves overeating and diabetes
It is known that beans are digested very slowly. At the same time, there are no sharp jumps in the level of glucose in the body, which means that you are not afraid of overeating and type 2 diabetes.
It is no secret that beans, chickpeas, and other members of the legume family contain coarse dietary fibers that positively affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, you will not only feel good, but also significantly improve your skin condition.
Require minimal cost
Compared to meat, dried fruit and farm dairy products, legumes are very inexpensive. So their purchase will not make you save on something else.
Gives a good mood
Scientists have shown that phytoestrogens and amino acids that are part of legumes can save you from fatigue and irritability. What you need to cope with stress at work!
As a result of years of cancer research, doctors have found that only three servings of legumes per week can protect your body from cancer.
Helps to lose weight
Proponents of a healthy lifestyle respect legumes for the high content of vegetable protein. This component is responsible for saturation. So after a portion of chickpeas or beans, you definitely do not want to eat soon.
To prepare a delicious salad or stew with legumes, it is not necessary to soak the product for half a day, you can buy canned beans or peas. Such a product retains the maximum amount of beneficial properties. But, before adding it to the dish, rinse the contents of the jar with clean water. So you get rid of excess salt.
Contain the minimum amount of fat
Beans contain a minimum amount of fat. But thanks to this product it is possible to saturate the body not only with protein and fiber, but also with folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other valuable microelements.