Eat More Legumes to Improve Your Health

Bean

You’re not eating nearly enough beans and other legumes. (Photo by Kevin O’Mara, Flickr)

Are you cranky, bloated, and just downright uncomfortable? Are you having trouble fitting into your favorite pair of jeans? If you answered yes to any of the above, then you probably aren’t consuming enough legumes in your diet. This results in fiber deficiency, weight gain and ultimately, constipation.

According to Marissa Laliberte’s recent article in Reader’s Digest, “Silent Signs Your Body Craves a Diet Tweak,” we need fiber to regulate our bowel movements and help food pass more quickly through our system.

Constipated

Constipated? Eat more fiber and ease your strain in the bathroom. (Photo by Mike Sun, Flickr)

Folks who don’t get enough fiber have a higher chance of developing diverticular disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic, which is a condition marked by pain and infection in the abdominal cavity and intestinal blockages.

One way to avoid this condition is by increasing our intake of beans and other legumes. The good folks at the Mayo Clinic report that these super foods “are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available.” What makes them so special? Not only are they high in soluble and insoluble fiber, but they are cholesterol free, low fat, and high in protein and nutrients like magnesium, potassium, iron and folates.

Which legumes are best? Dried beans like pinto, kidney, black, cannellini and garbanzo beans are great additions to the diet, reports the University of Minnesota. Also, black eyed peas, whole peas, split peas and lentils are awesome sources of fiber and can easily be added to salads, soups, casseroles and other dishes we eat each day.

Even if you think you’re getting enough fiber in your diet already, you probably aren’t, reports Kathleen M. Zelman, the director of nutrition at WebMD. The average American only gets 15 grams of fiber per day, and that’s not even close to what we actually need.

Legumes

With so many legumes to choose from, it is easy to add fiber to your daily diet. (Photo by Catherine Day, Flickr)

According to the American Dietetic Association, women need 25 grams of fiber per day and men need a whopping 38 grams! That’s why you need to pile more legumes on your plate, because they are among the top sources of fiber, and are right up there with prunes for their phenomenal health benefits.

Are you one that avoids legumes because of their flatulent properties? Then check out our article about epazote, a little-known herb which is nature’s answer to Beano® and actually helps you eat beans without the gas!

Not sure where to start? Try making one of these classic recipes that are chock full of legumes! You’ll love our delicious Split Pea Soup, creamy hummus, or my spicy mouth-watering favorite, Hoppin’ John.

Other ways to improve your bowel hygiene and overall health include regular exercise, drinking plenty of water, and eating other fiber rich foods like whole grains, berries, fruit, bran, brown rice, and vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, greens and squash.

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About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to Eat More Legumes to Improve Your Health

  1. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Roughly 12 to 19 percent of people living in North America emdash;nearly 63 million peopleemdash; suffer each year from constipation, according to U.S. News and World Report. If you’re one of them, you’re very likely fiber deficient. Find out how you can boost fiber and reduce abdominal pain by eating more of this super food each day.

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