March is National Nutrition Month, and this year the theme is all about fuel for our future. Food choices impact more than our physical longevity. The food we purchase has the potential to significantly harm or help our planet, influencing the life expectancy of the environment we leave for future generations.
Over the years at Well Balanced Nutrition, we have promoted healthy eating and lifestyle habits that promote a healthy mind, body, and environment. These practices include eating local, buying seasonal foods, cart-smart options, and more! However, there is one food group that we particularly love because it not only promotes a long healthy life but it also supports a prosperous planet. That food group is… LEGUMES!
What are legumes?
Legumes are a family of plants that includes beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas. They have been a staple food in many cultures for centuries and are known for their nutritional value. Recent research has shown that legumes may also have a role in promoting longevity.
What is longevity?
Longevity, or the ability to live a long and healthy life, is influenced by many factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and diet. The Mediterranean diet, rich in legumes, has been associated with lower rates of chronic diseases and longer life expectancy.
How do legumes promote a long healthy life?
Here are some ways in which legumes promote longevity:
- Rich in nutrients: Legumes are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as folate, iron, and potassium. These nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy body and preventing chronic diseases.
- Lowers the risk of chronic diseases: Legumes have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This is due to their high fiber content, which helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Reduces inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for many age-related diseases, such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Legumes contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight: Legumes are low in fat and high in fiber, which helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. Eating legumes can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is associated with a longer lifespan.
- Improves gut health: Legumes contain prebiotics, food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health and may play a role in longevity.
- Sustainable food source: Legumes are an environmentally sustainable food source, as they require less water and fertilizers than other crops. Choosing legumes over meat as a protein source can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable agriculture.
Now you can understand why we’re hooked on legumes! They are a nutritious and environmentally friendly food source that can help promote longevity. Including various legumes in your diet can provide numerous health benefits and may help you live a longer and healthier life.