Legumes are a food group rich in B vitamins, contain different beneficial minerals (calcium, potassium and magnesium) and sizeable amounts of fibre and are regarded as a low-glycemic index food, which means that blood glucose levels increase only slowly after consumption. Due to these unique nutritional qualities, eating legumes regularly can help improve human health. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declared 2016 as the international year of legumes to raise people’s awareness of their nutritional benefits.
Although legumes have long been though to offer protection against type 2 diabetes (which is a significant health problem worldwide affecting more than 400 million adults in 2015), to date there has been little research to confirm this association.
Compared to individuals with a lower consumption of total legumes — lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas — individuals with a higher consumption had a 35 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Researchers analysed 3349 participants at high risk of cardiovascular disease but without type 2 diabetes at the beginning of the PREDIMED study. After 4 years of follow-up, the results have revealed that compared to individuals with a lower consumption of total legumes — lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas- (12.73 grams/day, approximately equivalent to 1.5 servings per week of 60g of raw legumes), individuals with a higher consumption (28.75 grams/day, equivalent to 3,35 servings/week) had a 35% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers highlight the importance of consuming legumes to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, but state that further research must be conducted in other populations to confirm these results.
Contacts and sources:
Universitat Rovira i Virgili,
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