Eat your beans!
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
This insight will uncover some interesting facts about legumes and why its consumption is not only healthy for us but also for our planet.
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Beans, lentils and peas are a kaleidoscope of colours and sizes, but they all have something in common; They belong to the legumes plant. A legume is referred to as the entire plant with its leaves, stems, and pots while a pulse is the edible seed inside the pot. The main legumes produced in Europe are dry peas, soya beans, lentils, chickpeas and broad beans.
Legumes are an inexpensive source of high protein, fibre and vitamins and therefore an ideal key ingredient for a plant-based meat alternative.
Because of its texture, flavour and nutrients, legumes are very versatile and can be incorporated into every meal; from salads, to soups, side dishes, entrees, and even desserts.
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As the table below shows, legumes also have lower greenhouse gas emissions and they use less agricultural land and water than animal produced foods.
Table 1: Our world in Data: Greenhouse gas emissions per kg of food product.
According to Harvard School of Public Health, legumes is a relatively sustainable crop. It emits up to seven times less greenhouse gases than other crops and can sequester (store) carbon in soils. Furthermore, it can create its own nitrogen from the atmosphere which reduces the usage of nitrogen fertilisers and therefore keeps the soil longer healthy for other crops to be planted.
With the world population growing and expecting to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050, the EAT-Lancet report recommends eating 50grams of legumes daily to reduce animal-based foods and to contribute to healthy humans and a healthy planet.