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Superfood Spotlight: Get a Leg Up On Your Health With LegumesPublished:
Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you feel totally awesome. No, for real, beans, peas, and lentils — known by their family name: legumes — are one of the most nutritionally dense food options. Plus, they’re cheap and you can get them year-round at pretty much every single grocery store. What’s not to love?
What is a legume?
Before we dive in, let’s get clear on legumes since it’s not a word most of us are throwing around every day. Legumes are a family of plants that produce a pod that has seeds inside. The seed is what’s edible. The legume family includes:
The health perks of legumes.
You might not think those peas or kidney beans are really doing a lot for your health, but don’t take legumes for granted. They’re high in protein and fiber and low in fat and cholesterol, plus they give you B-vitamins, potassium, folate, iron, and magnesium. They’re basically healthier meat. And cheaper meat. And easier to cook meat.
Speaking of cooking, what’s the deal.
Look, we love legumes as much as the next company, but we’re not trying to have to soak stuff overnight all the time. So we did some homework and we have good news. Canned legumes can be just as nutritious as home-cooked dried legumes!
They can be. But here’s the catch. You know what makes beans, peas, chickpeas, etc. taste great? Salt. So do spices, sure, but salt’s cheaper. So guess what most canned legumes contain a ton of: salt. You’re not robbing yourself of any nutritional density by choosing canned over home-cooked, but you could be kicking your sodium levels through the roof.
But we’ve got even more good news! Health-conscious people like you have pushed for more legume options, and there are plenty of low-sodium canned varieties available. Just take some time to read the label the next time you grab a can of legumes so you don’t bring home a salty surprise.