A legume refers to is a plant in the family Fabaceae, or the fruit or seed of such a plant. 


Legumes are widely distributed as the third-largest land plant family in terms of number of species, about 751 genera and some 19,000 known species,constituting about seven percent of flowering plant species.



When used as a dry grain, the seed is called a pulse. 


The term pulse, is reserved for legume crops harvested solely for the dry seed, excluding  green beans and green peas, which are considered vegetable crops. 



Legumes are grown agriculturally for human consumption, for livestock forage and silage, and as soil-enhancing green manure. 



Legumes include: beans, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, tamarind, alfalfa, and clover. 

Plants with seed pods that split into two halves.

Edible seeds from plants in the legume family include beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts.


Forage legumes are of two broad types: 



Some, like alfalfa, clover,  are sown in pasture and grazed by livestock. 



Other forage legumes are woody shrub or tree species that provide livestock feed. 



Legume-based feeds improve animal performance compared to a diet of perennial grasses. 



Legume species grown for their flowers include lupins.



Many types of legumes contain symbiotic bacteria called Rhizobia within root nodules of their root systems.

Also excluded are seeds that are mainly grown for oil extraction: oilseeds like soybeans and peanuts, and seeds which are used exclusively for sowing forage clovers, and alfalfa.



In common usage, these distinctions are not always clear.



Grain legumes include beans, lentils, lupins, peas, and peanuts.

Legumes produce a type of fruit that usually opens along a seam, on two sides.



Most  legumes have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules, playing a key role in crop rotation. 


In the soil, the amino acids are converted to nitrate (NO−3), which makes the nitrogen available to other plants, and serving as fertilizer for future crops.

Crop rotation involving legumes is therefore common.


These bacteria have the ability of fixing nitrogen from atmospheric, molecular nitrogen (N2) into ammonia (NH3).

Ammonia is then converted to another form, ammonium (NH+4).

The root nodules are sources of nitrogen for legumes, making them relatively rich in plant proteins. 

Often neglected in typical Western diets.

Legumes are inexpensive sources of protein that can be substituted for dietary animal protein.

All proteins contain nitrogenous amino acids,as nitrogen is necessary ingredient in the production of proteins. 



Legumes are among the best sources of plant protein.



After a legume plant dies in the field, its remaining nitrogen is incorporated into amino acids inside the remaining plant parts, and is released back into the soil. 

Contains small quantities of fats that are mostly unsaturated fats.

Excellent sources of essential minerals, but they are also rich in dietary fiber and other phytochemicals.

Include dried beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

Low glycemic index foods such as legumes improve glycemic control in patients with type II diabetes.

Legumes , also known as pulses, improve glycemic control, are good sources of slowly digested starch, and have relatively high-fiber and vegetable protein content.

Legumes are also a good source of resistant starch which is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine to produce short-chain fatty acids used by intestinal cells for food energy (butyrate).



Legumes have the potential for regular consumption in a plant-based diet to reduce the prevalence or risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

The legume proteins containing that 7S globulin fraction, can lower serum cholesterol levels.

Substitution of vegetable for animal proteins, such as occurs with increased legume consumption, is associated with decreasing blood pressure.

Consumption of legumes, especially with a hypocaloric diet is associated with lower blood pressure in patients without diabetes.

Legumes in a diet may help lower blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol levels, although the quality of supporting data is poor.



Some studies have suggested that high legume consumption is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Legumes are used as a key ingredient in vegan meat and dairy substitutes. 



They are growing in use as a plant-based protein source.



Legumes are a significant source of protein, dietary fiber, carbohydrates and dietary minerals: 100 gram serving of cooked chickpeas contains 18 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for protein, 30 percent DV for dietary fiber, 43 percent DV for folate and 52 percent DV for manganese.


Patients with the highest level of legume intake are 67% less likely to develop cataracts than those in the lowest level of legume intake.

Increasing intake of legumes by 75 grams per day decreased risk of cortical cataract by 16%, nuclear cataract by 40%, and posterior subcapsular cataract by 41%.



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