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As you probably know by now, I am a big fan of many different types of healthy lifestyles. According to personality, tastes, tolerance, ethics or religion, everyone is free to choose the best alternative lifestyle; keeping in mind, of course, that that alternative lifestyle is natural and beneficial to their health. Personally, my lifestyle philosophies are very closely tied to a healthy diet . That is why I would like to contribute a grain of sand to the debate of whether legumes are an integral part of a healthy diet.
Within this lifestyle one of the most prevalent and controversial issues is whether or not to eat legumes and it is true that in both positions there are valid and proven arguments.
Let us begin
First you have to clarify what exactly a legume is. [remove this]Do you know what foods fall into this category? [remove this] A legume is, any type of bean, chickpeas, peas, lentils, soy beans, and peanuts.
Legumes are commonly considered healthy, but they are constantly at odds with the strictest natural lifestyle practitioners for various reasons. Yes it is true that legumes are a rich source of fiber and with a good amount of vegetable protein, are nutritious and have vitamins and minerals; but it is also true that they contain the infamous lectins, phytates and other antinutrients that strict “healthy” people tend to reject.
Are they or aren’t they healthy?
If you are or have been in contact with someone who is very strict about their healthy diet, you will have heard that in no way were legumes part of our ancestors’ diet and that consuming them is toxic to our body. However, there is increasing evidence that there is no single “healthy diet”, but rather there are many, and through the continuous study of these different diets, we can continue to learn more about our species.
On the arguments against legume consumption, join me in observing the following:
- Legumes were not part of our ancestors’ diet:
In 2013, Dr. Stephan Guyenet published an article that showed that they were part of our ancestors’ diet by finding remains of legumes on Neanderthal dental plates. He even presented evidence of Australian aborigines who also fed on the seeds and gum found inside Acacia trees, which are considered legumes.
- We should avoid legumes because they have lectins:
Lectins are a type of protein that adheres to cell membranes and can stop growth, damage the walls of the intestine and interfere with the proper functioning of the pancreas. Sounds super serious, right? But don’t throw away all your legumes yet! All this happens ONLY if the vegetables are eaten raw and humans eat them cooked where almost all lectins are neutralized.
In addition, more than 53 foods that are supposedly healthy, have lectins; such as carrots, zucchini, cherries, raspberries, grapes, mushrooms and even garlic. Obviously that we can’t stop eating all these foods, we simply have to prepare them correctly.
- Legumes contain phytic acid:
Phytic acid is the deposit of phosphorus present in grains, some vegetables, nuts and seeds. Humans are not made to digest this substance because it prevents the absorption of important nutrients, contributing to mineral deficiency.
This is true, but it is also true that we can tolerate small amounts of phytates and, like lectins, many foods that are not legumes – and are natural – also contain phytic acid: almonds, pecans, spinach and chard . The truth is that phytic acid only adheres to some minerals and, in the case of legumes, the soaking process neutralizes almost everything.
What’s my opinion?
What I always say, [remove this]whether healthy or not[remove this], is you should follow a natural diet, that comes naturally to you. Listen to your body . If you like and feel good, go ahead. Legumes, besides being very good, are a great source of fiber and protein. But, to take advantage of their benefits and digest them in the best possible way, eat them occasionally and in small amounts.
Of course, try to acquire organic legumes avoiding artificial treatments that are administered during cultivation such as pesticides or chemical fertilizers. In this way, you will ingest the most natural and healthy product possible.
Whats your opinion on Legumes? Yay or nay?