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Legumes aren’t paleo, but they’re good for you anyway

Sometimes the sheerest nonsense is put out about what foods are healthy versus unhealthy. Into that category I would now firmly put the strange and incorrect notion that legumes are unhealthy.

This horribly unhelpful ‘advice’ appears to have originated with the Paleo fad (I sincerely hope it is a fad). Apart from the fact that we can rightfully be suspicious of any dietary advice that steers us towards the eating patterns of people who routinely died in their 40’s, everything we know about the science of legumes says that they are a wonderfully healthful class of foods for most of us.

be suspicious of any dietary advice based on people who routinely died in their 40’s Click To Tweet

Here are 6 reasons (and a recipe) for enjoying legumes on a daily basis:

  • Legumes are low in glycemic index carbs, and high in fiber and protein, which is why several reports indicate they help improve insulin sensitivity — important news for anyone with prediabetes or diabetes.
  • Legumes reduce inflammation generally throughout the body. Yes, I know that is opposite from what Paleo books suggest, but this is what science is measuring — both in studies of specific tissues and generally as measured in linkages to dietary patterns.
  • Legumes have healthful protective effects on bone mineral density in the latest animal research, causing a decrease in bone mineral turnover that indicates they should help prevent bone mineral losses.
  • Legumes have even reduced blood pressure (compared to non-legume diets) in people losing weight, again probably because of the glycemic index and fiber benefits.
  • The fiber in legumes additionally makes them a good prebiotic, encouraging the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria that have numerous beneficial effects throughout the body, including keeping metabolic syndrome at bay.
  • Compared to rearing animals, it takes fewer resources to grow legumes, making them a better protein source for the environment and world food sufficiency compared to diets dominated by meat, such as standard Paleo prescriptions.

Have I said enough? Legumes are a perfect example of a healthy carb and protein source that we can eat – and enjoy any day of the week.

Eating legumes improves insulin sensitivity, helps reduce inflammation, improves bone mineral density & is prebiotic. Click To Tweet

Although it is easy to worry that there must be at least some truth in these scaremongering diets that try to get you to give up whole classes of food, sometimes there literally isn’t any basis for the dramatic assertions other than magical thinking. Giving up legumes is a great example of bad advice we should simply all ignore.
Best wishes,
Susan Roberts Signature
Dr Susan Roberts

 

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