Pod-y Mouth: Eating Legumes Lowers Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

LegumesA new study shows a protective association between eating legumes—especially lentils, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Legumes are a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas, and lentils. Green peas, green lima beans, and green (string) beans are not considered to be part of the legumes family.

Legumes are rich in folate, potassium, iron and fiber. They are also low in fat and cholesterol and provide a good source of plant-based protein. Legumes are rich in complex carbohydrate and fiber which gives them a low-glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index are digested and absorbed more slowly, causing a lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels.

Research shows that legumes can lower heart disease risk, improve blood glucose control, lower risk of breast and colorectal cancer and increase satiety which may help with weight loss. And there is emerging evidence that legumes can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated the association between eating different types of legumes and the risk of type 2 diabetes among individuals at high cardiovascular risk. They also evaluated the effect of replacing other protein and carbohydrate-rich foods with legumes on the development of type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that compared to individuals who ate only 1 cup cooked legumes per week, individuals who consumed 2 cups cooked legumes per week had a 35 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.