Even though they are part of our culinary heritage, beans, chickpeas and lentils are still too often forgotten in our menus. Their nutritional qualities are nevertheless recognized. In January 2017, they took an important step in their rehabilitation process: ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety) included them in its new dietary recommendations (source 1) .
What are the main legumes?
There is an immense diversity of legumes (also known as dried vegetables) cultivated and consumed all over the world:
- beans (black, red, white, azuki …),
- lenses (brown, green, green from Le Puy, coral, etc.),
- peas (chick, broken),
- and all varieties of soy.
What are the benefits of legumes?
Legumes provide quality energy and curb cravings
“The main nutritional characteristic of pulses is their carbohydrate richness – between 11 and 17 g per 100 g (cooked weight) – which classifies them in the starch family “, confirms Dr. Corinne Chicheportiche-Ayache, nutritionist. Present in the form of starch and combined with fibers and proteins, these carbohydrates provide a fuel of choice for both brain and muscle. Their glycemic index (GI) is indeed low, below 50: with them, no sudden rise in blood sugar, so no pumping, craving or storage.
Pulses are naturally gluten-free
Unlike many cereal products, lentils, peas, dried beans – and the products made from them (flour, etc.) – can be consumed by patients with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerant.
They help prevent metabolic disorders and certain cancers (especially colon)
Their secret boot? Their incredible richness in fiber: from 4.5 to 16.5 g per 100 g (cooked weight). “Consuming it regularly makes it possible to reach the recommended daily intakes, set at 25 g”, underlines Dr. Chicheportiche-Ayache. True health allies, fibers decrease the absorption of fats and cholesterol, slow down the assimilation of carbohydrates and prevent the stagnation of unwanted elements in the intestines.
Pulses balance transit and intestinal flora
Their fibers increase the volume of stools in case of constipation, and collect water in the digestive tract in case of diarrhea. “Moreover, when they arrive intact in the intestines, they feed friendly bacteria and thus contribute to the diversity and health of the microbiota “, underlines Dr. Martine Cotinat, nutritionist and gastroenterologist.
Can we consume legumes in case of intestinal pathologies?
“Yes, says Dr. Cotinat. But not in times of crisis when you suffer from acute problems (diverticula, functional colopathy, etc.). In this case, they are eliminated for a while and, depending on the clinical condition, they are reintegrated at a distance from the crisis, in small quantities (2 tablespoons cooked), favoring the most digestible (lentils and chickpeas) and by germinating them first. ” Be careful also in case of constipation! Certainly, their fibers regulate transit, but they also promote the production of gas in the intestines.
They are an interesting alternative to animal proteins
100 g of cooked legumes provide 5.6 to 10 g of protein, which is equivalent to 50 g of meat or fish! Putting it on the menu thus makes it possible to reduce or even replace animal products, in particular red meat, the consumption of which is advisable. “Be careful though: their proteins are incomplete, that is to say, they do not contain all the essential amino acids for the body, warns Corinne Chicheportiche-Ayache. To benefit from a complete and quality protein supply, it is necessary associate them with cereals (quinoa, bulgur, semolina, rice…). ”
They offer a wide range of vitamins and minerals
We thus find there, at variable contents according to the dried vegetables, vitamins of group B, magnesium, iron (although it is much less well assimilated than that of animal origin), calcium, potassium and zinc.
With 128 calories, 16.3g of carbohydrate (per 100g cooked weight) and a GI of less than 30, they are a great source of long-lasting energy. They also provide a good amount of vitamin B9 (folic acid). How to consume them? In soup or mash. You can also make cold spreads, by diluting them with their cooking water and flavoring them with fresh mint.
The richest in protein: 10.6 g per 100 g cooked. A portion of 150 g associated with a cereal product (rice, semolina, bulgur, etc.) is quantitatively and qualitatively equivalent to the protein intake of a piece of meat or fish. Also: a good iron content (2.2 g / 100g). How to consume them? Brown, green or coral can be eaten hot, cooked, in soup, or cold, in salads. Red lentils make up the dahl, an Indian stew with spices, vegetables and coconut milk.
Very rich in fiber (13.8 g / 100 g cooked), they are distinguished by a very good calcium intake (120 mg / 100 g, as much as yogurt). Their protein intake (6.75 g) is moderate. How to consume them? In a casserole dish, with carrots, celery, tomato sauce and fresh parsley. In unmixed soup, or creamy spreads, mixed with a little peanut puree and / or fresh herbs and cloves of garlic cooked with it.
Well balanced! 100 g cooked provide 9.6 g of protein, 12.1 g of carbohydrates, 11.6 g of fiber, 2.3 g of iron, 55 mg of magnesium, 78.3 μg of vitamin B9. And 115 calories. How to consume them? In a chili, with or without meat. Mashed, they also replace flour and part of the fat in cakes. The azuki variety is used to make anko dough.
The highest in carbohydrates (17.7 g / 100g cooked weight) and energy (147 calories). However, with a GI of less than 30, they stabilize blood sugar levels for a long time, preventing pumping and cravings. They are also distinguished by their intake of vitamin E (1.22 mg), folic acid (84 μg) and calcium (75 mg). How to consume them? In couscous, in hummus (with lemon, cumin and sesame puree), or grilled after cooking with spices.
The richest in fiber: 16.5 g / 100 g (cooked weight) – hence their reputation for giving our intestines a hard time – but the least well supplied in protein: 5.65 g / 100 g. They provide iron (1.8 mg) and calcium (68 mg). How to consume them? As an accompaniment to certain meats (lamb), or in a vegetarian pan (shallots, carrots and mushrooms).
Richer in water than other legumes (77%, cooked), they have the lowest energy and nutritional intakes: 78.6 calories, 10.4 g of carbohydrates, 4.5 g of fiber, 6.01 g of protein, 1.5 g of iron and 81 μg of folic acid per 100 g. How to consume them? Young, they can be added raw to salads, with celery and feta. They can also be used in tagine recipes and accompany meat and fish. Better to peel them to make them more digestible.
How to choose the right legumes?
In bag or in bulk, no matter. But better to take them from French and organic production, because they are among the particularly treated foods: 38.2% of samples analyzed by the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control) in 2014 contained pesticide residues, lentils almost twice more than peas and beans.
“The canned food are also a good troubleshooting solution, says Amandine Geers, culinary expert. They save time over a relatively long preparation time. “In this case, it is better to rinse them before consuming them to eliminate some of the salt.
Inexpensive foods that keep well
The dried vegetables represent a way of save money by eating properly. For example, 500 g of split peas, chickpeas or lentils cost less than € 2, a price that is stable all year round.
In winter, when fresh vegetables are scarce and expensive, they brighten up soups. They can replace potatoes, and added to vegetables (leeks, cabbage, carrots), enrich a soup.
They are also foods durable and easily stored. Some dormant seeds wake up when rehydrated. They are unlikely to rot or lose their nutritional qualities and produce no waste: one kilo purchased = one kilo to eat.
“We keep them dry in glass jars, recommends Amandine Geers. You can add a bay leaf which helps keep food moths away. “Once cooked,” leftover pulses can be kept in the fridge for a few days and can be added to a soup to give it a protein supplement. ”
Pulses don’t take that long to prepare!
“A good preparation allows both to improve the digestibility of the fibers, to enrich the proteins at the level of the missing amino acids and to reduce the anti-nutritional agents which prevent the assimilation of part of the nutrients”, explains Dr. Cotinat. , which recommends soak the legumes overnight (or, better, germinate them for 3 to 4 days in jars), then throw in the water before cooking them (45 min at least) in bicarbonate water.
The soaking time, which varies according to the pulses, is generally indicated on the packaging. Some, such as chickpeas or beans, imperatively require overnight soaking and between 1 hour and 3 hours of cooking. Lentils and split peas escape soaking and cook quickly, in 15 to 20 minutes. If we are in a hurry, we think of canned food, which is rinsed before consuming.
Cassoulet, salted potatoes with lentils, chili, baked beans … Legumes are well suited especially in savory dishes. These main dishes will be lighter if the fish or meat intake is marginal, while constituting a complete dish. But pulses also work very well in salad or dessert in the form of a sweet paste. They can also be used as unique sauces for gratins or vegetable lasagna.
Our ideas for healthy legume-based recipes
Our Starters :
- Split pea soufflé (315 kcal / person), a recipe rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant, which limits the effects of stress on immunity.
- Cream of split peas and edam chips (291 kcal / person), a recipe rich in vitamin B1, magnesium and zinc, useful for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
- Zucchini and red bean minestrone (264 kcal / person), a vegetarian recipe that against acid reflux in case of GERD.
- White bean and vegetable salad (250 kcal / person), a recipe rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Chickpea soup with sesame and thyme (264 kcal / person), a recipe rich in probiotics, good for the intestinal system which plays a role in immunity.
Our dishes :
- Tofu and mango bean salad (390 kcal / person), a vegan recipe rich in protein.
- Pan-fried snow peas and tofu (170 kcal / person), a recipe rich in fiber, which promotes contractions of the intestine to eliminate stools.
- Semi-brown rice with spinach and lentil curry (191 kcal / person): a vegan recipe that contributes to quality sleep.
- Lentil salad with mackerel and soft-boiled egg (316 kcal / person), a recipe rich in omega-3, protein, vitamin D, vitamin B, iron, iodine and selenium.