Legumes (Dry Beans, Split Peas & Lentils)
Kidney and black beans, yellow split peas and red lentils are among the thousands of colorful legumes.
Legumes use nitrogen from the atmosphere to make protein and are an important protein source worldwide. So valuable in ancient Rome, prominent families derived their names from legumes; for example, Cicero is from the Latin word for chickpea.
What’s in Beans and Peas?
Dry beans and peas are rich in fiber (20% of Daily Value) and a good source of protein (10% of Daily Value). They are also an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin. Foods containing folate help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer probably because of folate’s role in healthy cell division and repair of damaged cells.
Legumes contain other health-promoting substances that may also protect against cancer:
– Lignans and saponins
– Resistant starch, starch not digested in the small intestine, is used by healthful bacteria in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids, which seem to protect colon cells.
– Antioxidants from a variety of phytochemicals, including triterpenoids, flavonoids, inositol, protease inhibitors ans sterols.