Legumes/Pulses (Chickpeas, beans, lentils and dry peas, peas, soybeans)

Legumes or pulses are healthy, protein-rich plants that grow in pods. They are one of the best dietary sources of folate and include chickpeas, beans, lentils, soybeans/tofu and peas. These high-protein plant foods are low in fat and calories, but they can be relatively high in carbs compared to other vegetables. They are generally not considered low glycemic. A serving of legumes typically provides 10 to 20 grams of protein. Because legumes contains less fat than a serving of meat, you can eat more plant protein foods while consuming fewer calories, making them an excellent choice for a well-balanced diet. They are also great because they are relatively inexpensive and filling; they offer many nutrients for relatively low cost. Legumes are rich in iron and zinc, minerals necessary for a healthy brain function. Clinical studies showed that iron-deficient anemia may increase the risk of dementia in women. Low zinc concentration in the blood is associated with more severe strokes and worst outcomes in stroke patients. Other health-promoting compounds in legumes and pulses include fiber and potassium. What counts as a serving?

  • 1 cup cooked or canned legumes/beans

References:1. Chung et al.(2014). Dementia is associated with iron-deficiency anemia in females: a population-based study. Journal of the neurological sciences, 346(1-2), 90-93. doi:10.1016/j.jns.2014.07.062.2. Bhatt et al.(2010). Clinical significance of serum zinc levels in cerebral ischemia. Stroke research and treatment. doi:10.4061/2010/245715.