All over the world, people eat and enjoy beans, peas, and other legumes! Legumes come from plants whose seed pods split on two sides when they’re ripe.
Because they’re a nutritious, ﬂavorful, and inexpensive protein source and because they’re easy to grow and store, legumes have been a staple food for thousands of years. Today we recognize another beneﬁt. Besides their versatility, legumes are among the world’s best ﬁber sources! No matter what the variety, legumes are loaded with nutrients: proteins, complex carbohydrates, and ﬁber, along with B vitamins (including folate), iron, other vitamins and minerals, and phytonutrients.
In the Food Guide Pyramid, legumes ﬁt in the Meat and Beans Group. Like meat, they’re good sources of protein. One half cup of cooked legumes (beans or lentils) counts as 1 ounce of meat; 5 to 7 ounces of meat or meat alternate are recommended daily.