Legumes are a food family which includes beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. They constitute a central component in the Mediterranean diet and various Eastern diets.
Legumes are rich in protein, carbohydrates, dietary fibers and other vital nutrients such as folic acid, potassium and antioxidants. They are low in fat and contribute to a person's feeling of satisfaction. Legumes have been a staple in human diet since the early times and they remain staples in many diets. In Greece and other Middle East countries beans, lentils and chickpeas ar foods that are eaten daily in various forms - such as soups, stews and spreads.
Many studies have shown that the consumption of legumes contributes to the decrease in 'bad' cholesterol (LDL), improvment of a diabetic balance, maintaining a proper body weight and lowering the risk of developing many types of cancer. Legumes are a central component of a healthy diet.
Vegetarians are recommended to eat legumes as a substitute to animal protein. A lentil, bean or chickpea dish can provide the needed amoutn of protein.