Health | Lifestyle | MEAL PLANS | Nutrition

Are legumes a forgotten superfood?

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

Of all the superfoods that are touted, there is one group that doesn’t get the air time it deserves. And that’s legumes. If you’ve been reading the Brown Paper Journal for a while you’d know we’re big fans of legumes here and we want to help you understand how you can be too.

Legumes are an incredibly nutritious food group and can serve our body both macronutrients and micronutrients. Read on to see why we believe they are in fact a superfood.

  1. Protein: Legumes are an excellent plant-based source of protein, making them a staple in vegetarian and vegan diets. They contain a good balance of essential amino acids, although they are typically low in methionine and cysteine. Combining them with grains like rice can provide a complete protein profile.
  2. Complex Carbohydrates: Legumes are rich in complex carbohydrates, including dietary fiber. This fiber content aids in digestion, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and promotes feelings of fullness, making legumes an excellent choice for weight management and overall digestive health.
  3. Micronutrients: Legumes are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. These nutrients play vital roles in various bodily functions, such as energy metabolism, immune system function, and cell repair. Iron status is commonly lower in women and children with around 1/3 women globally iron deficient (WHO, 2024). Incorporating legumes as part of the diet is one part of the picture when it comes to improving iron intake. Learn how to boost your iron and hit iron intake daily on a plant based or omnivorous diet with our IRON RICH MEAL PLANS available in the shop.
  4. Low in Fat: Legumes are naturally low in fat, with most of their calories coming from carbohydrates and protein. This makes them a heart-healthy food choice, as they can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
  5. Antioxidants: Many legumes contain antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  6. Low Glycemic Index: Legumes generally have a low glycemic index, meaning they cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels compared to high-glycemic foods. This makes them suitable for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their blood sugar levels.
  7. Cholesterol Reduction: Some studies suggest that incorporating legumes into the diet may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, further reducing the risk of heart disease.
  8. Weight Management: Due to their high fibre and protein content, legumes can promote satiety and reduce overall calorie intake, making them beneficial for weight management and weight loss efforts.

Incorporating a variety of legumes into your diet can provide a wide range of nutrients and health benefits. They are versatile ingredients that can be used in soups, stews, salads, dips, and main dishes, making it easy to enjoy their nutritional goodness in various ways.

Try these amazing legume rich recipes to get your serves in throughout the day and week:







Love legumes already but want to know how to incorporate them effectively into your diet to boost your IRON INTAKE? Check out our PLANT BASED IRON RICH MEAL PLAN which includes 7 days of nutritionally balanced iron rich meals and snacks to help you improve iron intake and increase energy, clarity, cognition, sleep and exercise. Grab it via the SHOP today.