A higher consumption of legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas has the potential to lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 35 per cent, researchers say.
Legumes are a food group rich in B vitamins, contain different beneficial minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium.
The findings showed that among the different subtypes of legume, participants who had a higher consumption of lentils – one serving per week had a 33 per cent lower risk of developing the disease.
Legumes also contain sizeable amounts of fibre and are regarded as a low-glycemic index food, which means that blood glucose levels increase only slowly after consumption.
The effect of replacing half a serving per day of foods rich in protein or carbohydrates, including eggs, bread, rice and baked potato, with half a serving per day of legumes was also associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, said Nerea Becerra-Tomas, researcher at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain.