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They are among the most nutritious plant foods – high in protein, B complex vitamins, Iron, Potassium, and other minerals. Legumes lack in certain amino acids, to make the protein complete it should be consumed with cereals. They provide large amounts of fibre including soluble fibre that helps control blood sugars and cholesterol. When the dals are consumed as a whole seed or in the form of sprouts the nutritive value increases.

They contain a range of important phytochemicals that have a number of disease fighting properties. Some legumes have isoflavones which protect against heart disease and cancer, saponins that reduce cholesterol and phytoesterol that have anticancer and cholesterol lowering properties.

They are a good dietary source of complex carbohydrates and proteins that provides a steady slow glucose release instead of the sudden surge that occurs after eating simple carbohydrate.

Dried beans and lentils can cause intestinal gas and flatulence. The method of preparation can reduce this gas production. Changing the water several times, during soaking, cooking or rinsing them after cooking helps reduce gas production. Soyabean contain almost all essential amino acids that makes it a complete protein thus is a great dietary source protein for vegetarians. It is also a good source calcium and can be consumed as soya flour products, soymilk, tofu, nuggets, etc.
Nuts and Oilseeds

Most nuts and seeds are a rich source of vitamins, especially folate, B vitamins, and vitamin E, minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc and potassium. It is a good source of fibre, essential fatty acids, plant compounds like flavonols and plant sterols. Most nuts provide good amounts of proteins with exception of peanuts which lack lysine.

They are a storehouse of energy and fats. But with the exception of coconuts and palm nuts their fat is mostly monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. These are heart friendly fats especially when they replace saturate fats. It is this fat content that is responsible for the rancidity if it is not stored properly.

Nuts are the best source of Vitamin E an important antioxidant that enhances the immune system, protects cells and helps make blood. Nuts if consumed in the right amount helps reduce cholesterol and helps fight heart disease. Their healthy qualities are attributed to their fatty acid profile along with protein, fibre, vitamin E and magnesium content.

Some nuts can cause allergic reactions in some people. The symptoms range from tingling sensation in the mouth, hives, in extreme cases it may cause anaphylaxis.

How much ‘Legumes and nuts’ do I need?

Pulses and legumes should be included in the diet every day and 2 to 3 sevings can be consumed. Nuts and seed because they are a rich source of fats and calories should be taken in moderation, and if done every day has a lot of health benefits. Care should be take on how it is consumed, it should not be eaten as fried savories like salted fried nuts, salted dals instead should be taken as sprouts, boiled roasted snacks.
Foods to be eaten in small quantities: Unsalted nuts (almonds, pista, walnut, groundnuts etc)
Foods to eat: Whole legumes and dals especially ones with seed coats and sprouts.
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