Legumes (Pulses)

Legumes, such as beans, peas, lentils, are in some ways similar to grains, and different in other ways. They are similar in that both groups contain carbohydrates and proteins, with legumes having more proteins and fewer carbohydrates than grains. They are also similar in that both groups of these foods must be cooked before they can be eaten. They are very different, however, in their glycemic responses. Grains have generally high glycemic indeces, and legumes low.

For example, some white breads may have a glycemic index of 100, that is equivalent to swallowing pure glucose. Lentils on the other hand, have a glycemic index of 29. Legumes are par excellence nutritious foods, which will not raise the glucose and insulin in the blood quickly. Hence they are sound foods for diabetics and other people who must be careful with the see-saw effect of foods on blood sugar levels. The benefits of the Mediterranean diet but also of other traditional diets are partly due to the frequent use of legumes.

All legumes, particularly these served with added olive oil.

Canned legumes, especially these with added sugar or other preservatives.