Learn to Love Legumes... Here's Why.

beans chickpeas fibre legumes; lentils plant protein tofu

Legumes: You’ve probably heard of them before, but do you know what they are? Most importantly, do you know why you should be including them in your diet?

Legumes are a type of plant, and common types include dried beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, broad bens, lupins, soybeans, and peanuts. Including legumes in your diet may be one of the best things you can do for your health, as these nutritional powerhouses are a source of protein, fibre, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, and phytochemicals.

Here are some of the top reasons we love legumes!

  • Good for your gut: The high amount of fibre found in legumes helps to keep your gut healthy by keeping you regular and promoting digestive health. They’re also an excellent source of resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic to help keep your microbiome happy. While you may experience gut symptoms when increasing your legume intake, remember that this can be a sign of a healthy gut! Try increasing your intake slowly to reduce symptoms.
  • Good source of plant protein: Legumes are packed with nutrition and are higher in protein than a lot of other plant foods, and don’t have the same saturated fat content that many animal proteins do.
  • Rich in nutrients: Legumes are rich in many nutrients including B vitamins, folate, potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium which are all needed to support good health.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Legumes contain complex carbohydrates and are low GI, meaning that they provide a sustained energy source and help to maintain blood glucose control. They are an excellent nutritious option for people with diabetes as well.
  • Versatile: With all the different types of legumes out there, there’s also plenty of ways that you can utilise them– whether you’re adding them to a dish or making them the star of the show.
  1. Use black beans to make burgers or add them to your taco mix
  2. Add lentils into your soups, sauces, or curries for a punch of protein
  3. Add mixed beans to your salads to make them extra hearty
  4. Have them as a snack! Try roasting them for an extra crunch or blend them into a dip like hummus.
  • Budget-friendly: Some cans of legumes are as little as $0.80! Many legumes are also shelf-stable so you can buy them in bulk to save money. Some don’t need any preparation either – making them super easy to add to any meal.
  • Sustainable: The 2019 Eat Lancet report that discusses a planetary health diet recommends having 50g (about ¼ cup) a day of legumes – not only are they highly nutritious as part of a healthy diet, but they are also part of a sustainable diet! 
  • High in fibre: Legumes are an excellent source of fibre containing both insoluble and soluble. types Most Australians don’t reach the recommended daily fibre intake (25g for women, 30g for men). Fibre helps keep you fuller for longer, can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and reduce your risk of certain diseases such as colon cancer. 
  • Protect against chronic disease: Regular consumption of legumes has been linked to reduced cholesterol, reduced blood pressure, reduced risk of diseases including heart disease, and even reduced risk of mortality when had in large amounts (50g a day)! 
  • Protect against cancer: There’s evidence to suggest that soy intake (soybeans are a type of legume) may have a protective effect against prostate and breast cancer. 
  • Can help with weight management: Legumes may promote weight loss as the protein and fibre found in legumes can help with increasing feelings of fullness. Not all of the fibre is broken down during digestion either, which can help to reduce overall caloric intake.


There are many reasons to love legumes - they’re an excellent plant protein, are high in fibre, and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. They’re also relatively inexpensive and can be used in a variety of ways. Check out our recipes to learn how you can start including more legumes in your diet!

If you need help, Book with our Expert Gut Health Dietitians Today!


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