Legumes and whole grains are an important part of a well balanced plant based diet. Legumes contain protein, fiber, potassium, antioxidants, iron, calcium, and several B vitamins. They are low in fat content and cholesterol. Whole grains, or cereals, are good sources of vitamins and minerals, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and magnesium. They are much healthier than refined grains as they provide more fiber and nutrients. The fiber in legumes and whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and all these nutrients are necessary for the body to function properly.
Incorporating legumes and whole grains into a diet and making them a regular part of that diet is really not that difficult. It's just a matter of research, preparation, and finding ways to add variety to the daily meals. Knowing what legumes are is a beginning, and knowing which foods are actually whole grain and which are not is important, too. From there you can put meals together that will give you the nutrients and fiber you need for a healthy plant based diet.
Legumes include peas, beans, lentils, lupins, peanuts, soy, alfalfa, clover, and carob. There are several different types of beans, like kidney, black, pinto, navy, lima, and red. Beans can be added to soups and stews, or you could make a bean or lentil soup. Legumes can be pureed to make dips, or, as in the case of peanuts and soynuts, can be eaten as a between meals snack. Chickpeas can be made into hummus, or used in salads, as can edamame. Legumes are extremely versatile. Do keep in mind that if you are increasing your legume intake, intestinal upset can become a concern, but drinking water and participating in regular exercise can help with digestion, and make you more comfortable.
Whole grains include, wheat, oat, rye, brown rice, barley, and maize. It may be a little more of a task to weed out the whole grain foods from the refined grains these days, but the knowing is in the reading of labels and ingredients on food packages. Many cereals consist of whole grains, while others may contain some. Several contain none at all. If the label shows that it is high in fiber and whole grain, it will be better for you than the ones that show a low amount, which is under about 5 grams. Often sugar is used to replace some of the whole grain in some cereals. Read the label carefully for puffed cereals. Cheerios, Raisin Bran and oatmeal are whole grain foods that provide the necessary nutrients and fiber we need. Popcorn is another good whole grain food.
There are several notable health benefits of eating more legumes and whole grains. Taking time to vary the choices is actually fun. Of course, legumes and whole grains can be combined together, as in peanut butter on whole wheat bread, or dal and brown rice. In fact, it is a great idea to combine these two staples of a plant based diet, and the possibilities are pretty vast with so many choices.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4607977
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