The protective role of LEGUMES
and link to longevity
The ABC radio "Health
Report" (1/11/2004) interviewed
Dr Irene Darmadi-Blackberry about the legume
research conducted at Monash University.
This research was initiated and coordinated
by HEC's Professor Mark Wahlqvist and Dr
Antigone Kouris-Blazos and published in
Asia Pacific Journal
of Clinical Nutrition in March 2004.
One of the several important findings from
this international elderly study was that
a higher legume intake is the most protective
dietary predictor of survival amongst the
elderly, regardless of ethnicity.
The Health Report has featured our study
in their "Health Minutes" on-line
can also be viewed as a video clip on the
ABC radio network at ABC
radio network "Health minutes"
do legumes cause bloating and wind.
How many of you avoid legumes because
they make you bloated and cause embarassing
smells and noise pollution? The question
is - if you are avoiding them for these
reasons are you affecting the quality of
your diet and ultimately your health?
Legumes, include: haricot beans (baked beans),
kidney, lima, broad, soy beans, as well
as chickpeas and lentils.
2. Legumes contain sugar molecules
(oligosaccharides) and certain fibres which
are not digested by the enzymes in our intestine.
But rather are digested by bacteria which
live in our gut. They use these as substrates
for their metabolism and production of energy,
however, gases are produced in the process.
3. The gases produced by the bacteria
include carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen,
methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide -
all of which are potentially toxic and if
retained will cause abdominal distention
are ways to reduce the wind/bloating by:
- consuming legumes with herbs (e.g thyme,
rosemary, sage, fennel)
- soaking the beans overnight and discarding
the soaking water (lentils don't need soaking)
- walking will help you release the gases
being bloated is not the same as having
too much fat around your middle - the bloated
feeling will eventually go away.
lets look at the second question - do we
really need to eat them if they have the
potential to be embarrassing.
are some reasons why it's a good idea to
eat them at least
once a week as a main meal such
as a bean soup or chickpea curry or lentil
1. they have a protein content which
is almost double that of cereals and similar
to the amount found in meat, eggs, fish
and dairy products. So legumes are a cheap
meat alternative. But they are lacking in
one amino acid - but this is rectified if
they are consumed with bread/rice/pasta,
which contain this amino acid.
2. they are a good source of Fe,
Zn, Mg, B vits, low fat, high omega 3
3. they contain 2 types of fibre
- one which helps control blood sugars (legumes
have a low glycaemic index) and blood fats
and the other which helps with constipation
and also with protection against gut cancer
4. a study in the US showed that
eating several serves of legumes a week
significantly reduced the risk of heart
disease. To read abstract on-line go to:
5. an international study has shown
that of all the food groups, legumes are
the most important food group conferring
people don't eat legumes because they don't
know how to cook them.
They are easy to cook if you know how. The
HEC will show you how to make delicious
soups, salads, curries and more. See our
Why not try them as a snack - roasted chickpeas
and sultanas are a common snack in the mediterranean
and the middle east. They can be purchased
from a Greek or Turkish deli.
also the HEC healthy eating pyramid
Updated: June 2005