Chickpeas, split peas, lentils, broad beans, soybeans, dried beans … they are part of the legume family. They are recommended to balance vegetarian and vegan diets, their association with a cereal allowing to combine all the essential amino acids on the plate.
But we sometimes encounter some pitfalls when putting it into practice:
- The extraction of their amino acids is not easy for the organism: in fact the plants have expected their seeds to be as resistant as possible to digestion. Some people, with high digestive capacities, manage to extract them rather well, while others whose digestion is more fragile and laborious hardly succeed. If the balance of the intestinal microbiota is also disturbed, assimilation becomes almost impossible. In these profiles, despite the intake, the risk of deficiency in amino acids, minerals, trace elements and vitamins is very real.
- Legumes are very rich in phytic acid: it is this which guarantees a high mineral content in cereals because it “chelates” them (that is to say it binds with them) to guarantee the plant reserves. But it continues the same work of “hunting” in the body: by binding with them to form complexes called phytates, it thus prevents the absorption of minerals and trace elements, especially calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. The risk of mineral and trace element deficiencies is therefore high.
- Legumes also provide lectins (the most famous is gluten, but its cousins are not devoid of harmful effects), saponins, trypsin inhibitors … These molecules also behave like anti-nutrients. Trypsin inhibitors oppose the action of an enzyme necessary for digestion, thus maintaining, like a vicious circle, poor assimilation. In addition, they further promote intestinal inflammation and hyperpermeability and thus autoimmune reactions.
How to prevent these negative effects?
For legumes, it is imperative to soak them before cooking: soaking (at least 12 h) reduces the concentration of phytic acid. Cooking will also decrease the level of phytic acid, without however completely eliminating it.
The cereals are to be chosen preferably semi-complete: it is often the happy medium that suits the greatest number. Choose sourdough breads because the slow fermentation of the sourdough destroys phytic acid, unlike the rapid leavening of yeast breads.
Finally, the effects of phytic acid are reduced if it is combined with protein intake: these stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and the bioavailability of minerals is improved.
Who should limit their consumption of pulses?
- All people suffering from digestive difficulties (hypochlorhydria, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, dysbiosis, intestinal hyperpermeability …) because increased consumption of legumes will increase intestinal inflammation and their demineralization.
- In general, all demineralized profiles, thin or even thin, tired, cautious, nervous: legumes are not favorable to them and their restricted digestive capacities will not allow them to assimilate the nutrients: no more than once or twice a month. Be careful with whole grains as well, for the same reasons.
- Conversely, people who “digest everything”, and show an important vitality can consume it, but not more than once or twice a week all the same, and by respecting the advice of preparation given below. above.
Thanks to Marie Chetaille, naturopath and contributor at Therapeutesmagazine.com
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