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What are legumes?

Legumes are plants of the pea or pod family, including peas, beans and lentils. They are rich in fiber and protein.

Is a legume a vegetable?

From a botanical perspective, yes legumes are vegetables as they are an edible portion of a plant. However, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025, eating a serving of legumes (now listed as “Beans, Peas, and Lentils”) counts towards both your daily vegetable and protein requirement. This is because the nutrient profile of legumes mirrors both categories. 

A list of legumes.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 has changed the name legumes to “Beans, Peas, and Lentils”. The following foods fit into this vegetable subgroup:

  • Beans such as kidney, pinto, white, black, lima, and fava
  • Peas such as chickpeas, black-eyed, pigeon, and split

Green peas and green string beans are not considered legumes because their nutrient content more closely reflects starchy vegetables. Meanwhile. Soybeans are considered part of the “Nuts, Seeds, and Soy Products” subgroup.

What are the health benefits of eating legumes?

Legumes are known for their high levels of fiber and B vitamins. They’re also popular among vegetarians and vegans as a source of protein. 

Legumes have been found to protect against Type 2 Diabetes, lower blood pressure, help control weight, and lower your risk of heart disease.


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