Lentils are one of the oldest foods, widely consumed in Middle East and Egypt. They are packed with protein and fiber, as well as antioxidants, especially polyphenols. These have mainly anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Eating lentils protects heart from disease, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. They are rich in vitamin B and folate, good for proper development during pregnancy, as well as iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. Thanks to a combination of fiber, carbohydrates and iron, they are great for steady increase of energy levels.
Kidney bean is an excellent plant based source of protein and fiber. It is also high in starch, but since this type is a slow-release carb and bean has low glycemic index, it is beneficial for diabetics, not causing fast and high rises in blood sugar. Kidney bean is rich in phosphorus and manganese, reduces cholesterol and improves heart health, lowers risk of heart disease, boosts digestion and prevents colon cancer. Although rich in iron, it might not be very accessible due to phytate content in beans that reduces iron absorption. Bean is very rich in folate, benefiting red blood cells formation and development during pregnancy. It is favorite among athletes due to its combination of energy boosting carbohydrates, muscle building protein and low fat content. Finally, it promotes fullness and is a great choice for weight management.
Peanut is a favorite snack of athletes due to high content of protein and fiber and low percentage of carbohydrates. Healthy fats and quality protein and fiber make it a very filling food, contributing to weight management. Although peanut protein has many health benefits, it can cause severe allergies in some people. Thanks to healthy fats it contains, as well as magnesium, copper and antioxidants, peanut is a good choice for maintaining heart health. Eating raw peanuts with skin provides most antioxidant benefits. Being relatively low in carbohydrates with low glycemic index and rich in fiber and fat, it represents diabetes friendly food. Furthermore, peanut is one of the best sources of biotin, a B vitamin converting food into energy, promoting hair and nail health, regulating blood sugar and supporting healthy pregnancy.
Asparagus packs a lot of nutrients in a very few calories that makes it a highly nutrient dense food. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamin K, A and E as well as fiber and protein. It helps with digestion and regulates diabetes. It is a good source of folate, helping red blood cells formation and especially supporting healthy development in pregnancy. It is also rich in potassium which helps lower blood pressure. Asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid called asparagine and is a natural diuretic, enabling excess fluid and salt get out from the body.
Chickpea has high fiber and protein content that makes it excellent meat replacement. It is considered that the protein of chickpea is of higher quality than in other legumes, containing almost all essential amino acids. It promotes fullness and aids weight management and is high in vitamin B6, copper, phosphorus and iron. Chickpea reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels and protects heart. It is also one of the best sources of folate. Consuming chickpea promotes production of butyrate, decreasing the risk of colon cancer and other nutrients in chickpea also help reduce cancer risk, such as saponins. Presence of choline improves brain and nervous system function. Chickpea is good for people with diabetes and has low glycemic index as well as decent amounts of magnesium and zinc, that can lower the risk of this health issue.
Pistachio is one of the richest sources of vitamin B6 and is very high in potassium. It contains antioxidants, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, promoting eye health. These antioxidants from pistachio are very easily absorbed in our body. Also packed with protein and aminoacids, it is great for gut health, blood vessels and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. It is a great source of vitamin E, improving skin and hair health. Pistachio can also help with blood sugar control and lowering cholesterol and keeps heart healthy. It may aid weight loss when consumed in moderation since not all the fat from it is absorbed in our body.
Almond is loaded with protein and fiber and represents one of the best sources of vitamin E. That helps slow down ageing and keep skin in good health. Thanks to high fiber and magnesium content, it regulates blood sugar levels and is a good choice for people with diabetes. It is considered that for the same reason, it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Almond is good for overall heart health and implementing it in diet also showed lower risk of some neurological disorders like Parkinson’s.
Cashew is native to Brazil and filled with antioxidants. It is a good choice for weight loss, especially when eaten raw, since not all fat from is absorbed when consumed in this form. Rich in protein and fiber like other nuts, it is good for heart health and lowering cholesterol. Cashew is loaded with copper, good for formation of red blood cells and anemia prevention. It also contains lots of magnesium, zinc and iron. Cashew also promotes eye health and due to high levels of selenium and copper, cashew oil is great for skin and hair.
Mushrooms are high in antioxidants and are the highest source of selenium of all vegetables and fruits. They are rich in fiber, especially beta glucan that lowers cholesterol and protects heart, high in water content, low in calories and fat free. When compared to other vegetables, they have relatively high amounts of protein which makes them very suitable for plant-based diet. They are rich in vitamin B (folate) and minerals, especially copper, as well as phosphorus, iron and potassium. Mushrooms are good for red blood cells production and bone health and for treating anemia. They are one of the richest sources of ergothioneine or ERGO, an antioxidant amino acid.
This legume is high in starch and fiber and especially rich in protein. Peas contain antioxidants polyphenols and have low glycemic index, helping stabilize blood sugar levels and are diabetes friendly food. They are great for digestion due to high content of insoluble fiber, protect heart from heart disease and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Rich in saponins, they have anti-cancer properties. The most present minerals in peas are manganese, phosphorus and iron. Another powerful substance in peas is lutein, good for eye health. On the other side, peas contain antinutrients common for legumes, that are making the mineral absorption and peas digestion more complicated. This might cause bloating and discomfort during consumption.