Legumes are a group of foods that include i beans, chickpeas, lentils but also peas, broad beans, cicerchie and others of the same botanical family of legumes.
On a nutritional level legumes contain an excellent supply of proteins, vegetable fiber, vitamins and mineral salts such as magnesium, zinc, calcium but in particular iron.
In fact, legumes are an excellent vegetable source of iron which is an essential mineral for many functions of our body.
Our body needs iron because it serves for the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells which are directly responsible for the transport of oxygen in the body and without which the tissues of our body could not survive because they were deprived of oxygen as well as becoming more exposed to attacks by harmful agents such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
In addition, iron is used for the proper functioning of the liver, bone marrow and intestines. A good reserve of iron allows us to be in shape and helps keep our immune system efficient by supporting it and also fighting stress and fatigue.
On the contrary, the lack of iron makes us feel weak, tired and if the iron deficiency is excessive we face anemia which is a real disease with symptoms of exhaustion, weakness and fatigue up to bed rest.
Read also Iron, how to assimilate it >>
How much iron do we need?
The daily iron requirement is between 10 and 18 mg per day for adults e in case of pregnancy iron intake rises to 30 mg per day.
For growing children, iron is an indispensable element and also for women the need for iron is more relevant because during the menstrual period there is more iron loss during the monthly cycle.
How much iron in legumes?
Beans are the most widely used legumes and 100 grams of dry beans contain about 8 mg of iron. Some varieties of beans such as pinto beans contain a higher amount of iron which can go beyond 9 mg per pound.
Also the variety of cannellini beans they are very rich in iron and have around 8,8 mg of iron per 100g of dry beans.
Lentils are other legumes that have a good iron content always around 8 mg per 100 grams of dried lentils.
Followed by chickpeas with 6,5 mg of iron each hectogram of dried chickpeas.
Legumes: iron absorption
A good tip to assimilate iron to the maximum contained in legumes is to add some lemon juice it contains Vitamin C.
In fact, it is necessary to know that the iron of legumes or that we find in other vegetables is called "non-heme iron "and has a lower absorption in ours body of 30-40% compared to heme iron that we can find in meat.
This difference can be easily compensated for if you have legumes together we eat foods rich in vitamin C such as lemon, orange or other vegetable juice rich in vitamin C.
La bioavailability of iron does not heme in this way increases considerably and we will therefore be able to better assimilate the iron of legumes.
The simplest way to combine these two ingredients is to put the legumes in the soaking water a few tablespoons of lemon juice or once cooked the legumes can be accompanied in recipes with other vegetables where the lemon juice is well suited.
Not only is lemon juice rich in vitamin C but also parsley and rocket which can be accompanied with boiled chickpeas in mixed vegetable salads.
Finally also eat a fruit rich in vitamin C such as kiwi, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberries or oranges next to the legume meal will always help to absorb iron better.
Read also Iron in the diet >>