A nutritionist shares the ‘underrated’ longevity food she eats every day to fight off sickness

Looking for a healthy, inexpensive protein that can boost your immune system and help you live longer? Next time you go to the grocery store, buy some legumes.

Replacing red meats and processed foods with legumes, whole grains, and vegetables can increase life expectancy by more than a decade for people in their 20s or 30s, according to a 2022 study published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Legumes: the most underestimated longevity food

When it comes to long-lasting foods, many people don’t immediately think of legumes. But as a nutritionist, I eat them every day as part of my vegan diet to keep my body strong and help fight disease.

The most common legume varieties are beans such as black beans, lentil beans, soybeans, broad beans, chickpeas (chickpeas), kidney beans, edamame, and lima beans.

Here are some important health benefits of legumes:

Research shows that all these nutritional properties can protect against chronic diseases.

In fact, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association recommend eating legumes as an alternative to animal protein to help reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

How to add more legumes to your diet

As a busy professional, I love being able to create a variety of delicious, nutritious meals with legumes.

You can buy prepackaged legumes at most supermarkets and health food stores. It may seem like a lot of preparation is required, but most of that time is just soaking, which doesn’t require any additional work on your part.

You can also cook legumes in large quantities and store them in sealed containers in the refrigerator or freezer:

  1. Boil dry beans thoroughly.
  2. Rinse and leave for at least five hours.
  3. Drain the soaking water and cook the beans in fresh, boiling water (212 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Don’t cook dried beans in slow cookers or casseroles because the temperature won’t get high enough to disable lectins, a potentially toxic chemical found in raw beans.

Canned beans are already cooked, so all you have to do is toss them into your soup, chili, pasta, sauce, wrap or sauté.

easy recipes

one. Go meatless by swapping burgers for legume-based burgers.

Homemade bean and lentil burgers, combined with spices and fun flavors, can be just as delicious as their meaty counterparts. whether you use With black beans, white beans, or lentils, you can’t go wrong with a legume patty on a whole wheat bun.

2. Instead of mayonnaise creamy hummus.

With the help of a food processor or blender, homemade hummus whips up easier than you think and makes a healthier, more fiber-packed sandwich spread than mayonnaise.

3. Mash the legumes to make an easy sauce.

Thanks to the neutral taste of legumes, seasonings can really elevate them into whatever party sauce you want to create. From cheesy to salty to sweet, the possibilities are endless.

4. Discard the chips for the bean chips.

If you’re on an afternoon recess, crunchy, oven-roasted beans can be a satisfying, energizing snack. Lupine beans, broad beans, and chickpeas are all crispy in the oven and are easy to make in large batches to be portioned throughout the week.

5. Mix them into soups for added fiber.

Lentil soup is a hearty dish for lunch or dinner in the winter. For a little more variety, you can also try making other legume-based soups, such as pea soup, macaroni and fagioli, or white bean and escarole soup.

6. Hide the beans inside the muffins.

If you’re craving sweets, black bean cake is a delicious dessert that packs a bit of fiber into every serving.

Samantha Heller, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist. He is a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York City. follow him twitter and instagram and Facebook.

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