Lentils, chickpea, peas, beans are the most common representatives of legumes, but, unfortunately, few people pay attention to them and include them in the diet. We will discuss their benefits in this article.
The most important macronutrient in an athlete's diet is protein. Of course, everyone knows about this and a picture of a juicy steak on a plate instantly pops up on one’s mind. I’m really sorry to inform you but protein is the substance that is found almost everywhere, even in products of plant origin.
Legumes are an amazing group of foods that are famous not only for the amino acids presence, but also for other nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins of group B, carbohydrates with a low glycemic index and also iron, magnesium, zinc.
But despite their benefits, this is such a product group that has a “controversial” reputation. The legumes contain antinutrients: phytic acid, lectins and others. If an athlete consumes too many legumes and they become the basic component of his diet (vegetarians, vegans), most likely he will have unpleasant consequences on his body. There may be problems with the musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract and hormonal imbalance.
Red beans contain phytohemagglutinin - a toxic substance that can cause poisoning if ingested. In order for the beans to bring benefit only and minimize all the risks on the athlete's body, it is enough to perform a couple of simple actions:
- soak the beans before cooking;
- be sure to cook well;
- raw foodists or vegans, who do not always consume thermally processed food, should germinate or ferment legumes in order to reduce the number of antinutrients in the dish. Any processing of legumes significantly reduces the amount of unwanted substances.
We need to highlight that the athletes, whose diet looks "traditional" and is rich in animal proteins, should not worry about it. The absorption of iron, zinc and other minerals is much better from these sources, so it’s not necessary to stand at the stove for half a day and soak thoroughly all legumes dishes.
According to many scientific studies, legumes reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, normalize the intestinal microflora and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In addition, legumes provide excellent satiety for a long time due to fiber and vegetable protein high content.
Many people do not consume legumes just because these foods cause a feeling of fullness in the intestines, bloating and rumbling. The solution may be in the gradual introduction of legumes in different forms: mashed legumes, pate, soup and then a side dish. Bean flour is used to bake bread, produce healthy pastries and desserts. Even sports products based on soy protein, peas and other legumes are already widely known to many athletes. Due to these products, it is possible not only to diversify the diet, but also to saturate the body with nutrients, maintain glucose levels in a healthy range and get an excellent portion of vegetable protein. But everything is healthy if you do it moderately.
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