7 Ways to Increase Your Legume Intake (And Why You Will Benefit!)


Legumes are often associated with vegan and vegetarian diets however, in the average human diet, legumes aren’t consumed frequently and don’t commonly appear on the dining table (when they really should).

What are legumes? 
Legumes (or pulses) are a family of plants including beans like kidney, black & soy, chickpeas, peas, lupins, lentils and peanuts.

Why consume legumes? 
Legumes are a nutritional powerhouse. They are a fantastic source of plant protein, dietary fibre and prebiotics making them brilliant for the gut. The colony of bacteria housed in our digestive tract feeds on prebiotic rich foods (of which legumes are a great source) which in turn leads to a thriving and diverse microbial community in the gut. This enhances a persons immunity, digestive health, disease risk and even mental health and mood.

The nutrition benefits of legumes include:

  • Great source of dietary fibre
  • Great source of plant protein
  • Good source of iron, calcium, magnesium & phosphorus
  • Low Glycaemic Index (GI) meaning a slow and steady release of carbohydrates
  • Help keep bowels movements regular
  • Associated with reduced risk of colon cancer & type 2 diabetes
  • Associated with good cholesterol & blood glucose control
  • Naturally low in fat

Some easy ways to include more legumes:

  • Incorporate lentils into spaghetti bolognese sauce
  • Add Edgell’s snack time chickpea/legume tins to salads – these come in a variety of flavours
  • Add black beans or kidney beans to tacos or chill con carne
  • snack on hummus or carrots
  • use pulse pasta instead of regular pasta
  • snack on ‘The Happy Snack Company’ roasted chickpeas/fava beans (or make your own)
  • Roast chickpeas in your favourite spices (herbs, paprika, salt, pepper) and keep in a bowl to add to meals throughout the week

No need to overwhelm yourself, you will benefit from working on even 1 of these throughout the week!

Laura Irwin

Accredited Practising Dietitian