Lupins are a typical food of the Mediterranean area. It is usually consumed as an appetizer indistinctly with olives or olives. But is it really a healthy legume?
What are they?
Lupins, also called lupins or chochos, are the seeds of the lupinus plant. It is a very popular yellow legume seed in the Mediterranean regions and also in certain parts of Latin America. The plant is native to western Asia (Turkey, Palestine) and the eastern Mediterranean region of southern Europe (Balkans, Greece, Cyprus, Italy).
These yellow legume seeds are part of the genus Lupinus. There are mainly three types of lupins: lupinus albus, lupinus mutabilis and lupinus hirsutus. They are legume seeds with high protein content. They are traditionally eaten as a pickled snack, although they contain a high content of alkaloids, which makes them very bitter and even toxic if consumed without proper preparation. However, if cooked correctly, they can be nutritious and tasty.
It is recommended to look for canned lupine. They are usually pickled, in a vacuum-sealed jar or bag, and ready to eat. However, you have to take into account the sodium content when buying canned lupins. Since lupins can be soaked in a saltwater solution to remove bitterness, they retain quite a bit of sodium.
We can eat the lupins with the skin on, but if we prefer a softer texture, we will tear the hard skin slightly with our teeth and put the inside of the lupin in our mouth.
As a curiosity, in Italy, they are considered a gift at Christmas.
Apart from its slightly bitter taste, lupins are a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In 100 grams of this food we find:
- Energy value: 371 calories
- Fats: 10 grams
- Carbohydrates: 40 grams
- Fiber: 19 grams
- Protein: 36 grams
- Manganese: 1’122 mg
- Copper: 0.383 mg
- Phosphorus: 212 mg
- Iron: 1.99 mg
- Vitamin B9: 98 µg
- Magnesium: 90mg
- Zinc: 2.29 mg
- Vitamin B1: 0.222 mg
In addition, it also contains many amino acids such as 1.154 grams of isoleucine, 0.735 grams of histidine, 0.951 grams of threonine, 1.96 grams of leucine, 1.079 grams of valine, 0.207 grams of tryptophan, and 1.381 grams of lysine are also found in 166 grams of lupins
Lupins are full of protein, fiber, and low in oil and starch, so weight loss is commonly associated with their consumption. They are packed with the amino acid arginine, which also helps lower blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, and lowers blood sugar levels. It also acts as a prebiotic, therefore improving the health of the large intestine.
Prevention of digestive problems
Frequent consumption of lupins promotes intestinal health and helps to deal with constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions related to the digestive system. The high fiber content makes them good prebiotics, the substances that feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Research has shown the direct link between these healthy bacteria and the state of the immune system.
The high fiber content ensures that the stool in the intestine absorbs water from the body and softens. Dietary fiber helps ease the passage of stool through the intestine. Constipation relief prevents constipation complications such as anal fissure and hemorrhoids or piles.
lower high blood pressure
An abnormality in the innermost lining of the blood vessels, kidney disease, and excess sodium in the body are actually the main cause of hypertension. Lupine protein extracts have been shown to correct vascular endothelial dysfunction.
It also helps in the proper relaxation of blood vessels, which helps in lowering high blood pressure. Hypertension causes heart attacks, strokes, paralysis, eye problems, etc. It is possible that we are protected from all these complications of hypertension if we eat lupins regularly.
In order to have energy and to have good health, we need to have a good digestive system or intestine. We need to eat foods that promote the growth of helpful gut bacteria. These foods are called prebiotics and probiotics.
Lupine seed fiber has been shown to promote the growth of helpful gut bacteria like bifidobacteria. They also reduce the growth of harmful intestinal bacteria such as Clostridium (Ex: Clostridium ramosum, C. spiroforme and C. cochleatum).
These foods consist of a good amount of iron which helps in the formation of hemoglobin. The vitamin C content of these beans also helps promote iron absorption and hemoglobin formation.
Anemia causes many problems like fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, etc. Lupins help in treating anemia to some extent and help us relieve these symptoms.
beneficial for the skin
The antioxidant present in them helps fight harmful free radicals. Free radicals can damage the skin and cause premature aging. Free radicals lead to the development of age-related changes such as spots, wrinkles, and fine lines at a young age.
The antioxidant content of lupins prevents premature aging. It also reverses signs of aging like wrinkles. Also, the vitamins and minerals in these beans nourish the skin and make it healthy and glowing.
A healthy immune system is very important to fight all infections. We need to eat a good diet rich in vitamins and minerals to strengthen our immune system.
Lupins contain all the essential minerals and vitamins like vitamin A, B complex and vitamin C that strengthen our immune system. The vitamin C content of lupins also strengthens our immune system and makes it capable of fighting off infections like colds and flu.
Beneficial for hair
Our hair is made of protein. Therefore, the high protein content of lupins helps in the formation of a healthy hair structure. The high protein content also makes hair strong, thick and difficult to break or fall out.
Aside from that, our hair also requires a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals for healthy growth. They have all the necessary nutrients to promote healthy hair growth.
Help in weight loss
As they contain a higher fiber content, they make a person stay full for a longer period of time. As a result, people who consume lupins consume less of other foods in their meals.
This results in significant weight loss among these people. In addition, a reduction in waist circumference and body mass index or BMI is reported according to the study.
protect the heart
Our heart can suffer from various diseases like atherosclerosis, heart attack or myocardial infarction and heart failure. High blood pressure, high blood sugar levels or diabetes, high cholesterol levels or hypercholesterolemia are the main culprits in the development of heart disease.
According to research, lupine protein extracts have been shown to reduce the development of atherosclerotic lesions. They also reduce high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart disease.
In principle, it is a healthy food that does not present too many health risks. However, some of its possible disadvantages must be taken into account:
- Fungal toxins readily attack crushed seed and can cause chronic disease.
- Excessive use can lead to poisoning .
- Improper preparation of lupine with insufficient soaking allows significant amounts of anticholinergic alkaloids to remain in the seeds, leading to symptoms of poisoning.
Symptoms of lupine poisoning include confusion, unresponsive dilated pupils, flushed face or fever, slowed thinking and disorientation, tremors, high heart rate and blood pressure, slurred or slurred speech, dizziness, stomach pain, heartburn in dry mouth and anxiety or “malaise”.
How are they eaten?
Once a can is opened or soaked, they will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. If we use canned lupins, we will rinse them carefully before eating them. If we use the dry version, we must soak them previously. Prepared lupine can be added to salads or enjoyed on its own as a side dish or snack.
Typically, they are soaked in salt water for 2-3 hours to soften the flavor and eaten raw. They can also be roasted or ground into a powder and mixed with cereal flours to make bread. Even the roasted seeds can be used as a snack in the same way as peanuts. There are those who also use roasted lupine as a substitute for coffee.
More commonly, however, the seeds are used as pickles, as protein-rich vegetables, or as meat analogs in savory dishes.