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MyPlate Exploration: Beans and Peas

Legumes — a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Botanically, beans are classified into a group of plant foods known as legumes. All legumes are members of a family of flowering plants called. An image of a selection of vegetables to illustrate foods from this food group. Dark green or cruciferous/brassica. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok.

Beans in the protein food group

Back to Eat well. Pulses include beans, lentils and peas. They're a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and count towards your recommended 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables. A pulse is an edible seed that grows in a pod. Pulses include all beans, peas and lentils, such as:. Pulses are a great source of protein. This means they can be particularly important for people who don't get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products.

But pulses can also be a healthy choice for meat-eaters. You can add pulses to soups, casseroles and meat sauces to add extra texture and flavour. Eating a diet high in fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Pulses are often bought in tins. But if you eat more than 3 heaped tablespoons of beans and pulses in a day, this still only counts as 1 portion of your 5 A Day.

This is because while pulses contain fibre, they don't give the same mixture of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as fruit and vegetables. This excludes green beans, such as broad beans and runner beans, which are counted as a vegetable and not a bean or pulse for 5 A Day.

Learn more about 5 A Day. Baked beans are renowned for their effect on the bowels. This is because beans contain undigestible carbohydrates. Soaking and rinsing dry beans before cooking, as well as rinsing canned beans in water, can help to reduce these hard to digest carbohydrates. You shouldn't let a bit of wind put you off eating pulses. People react differently to certain foods and may find that symptoms subside, especially if you increase your intake gradually.

Typically, pulses are bought either tinned or dried. Tinned pulses have already been soaked and cooked, so you only need to heat them up or add them straight to salads if you're using them cold. Dried kidney beans and soya beans contain toxins, so it's important to ensure they have been cooked properly before you eat them.

Cooking times vary depending on the type of pulse and how old they are, so follow a recipe or the instructions on the packet. Kidney beans contain a natural toxin called lectin. The toxin is destroyed by proper cooking. Soya beans contain a natural toxin called a trypsin inhibitor. This can stop you digesting food properly. If you cook pulses and you aren't going to eat them immediately, cool them as quickly as possible and then put them in the fridge or freeze them.

If you keep cooked pulses in the fridge, eat them within 2 days. It should be safe to keep pulses frozen for a long time, as long as they stay frozen. But keeping food frozen for too long can affect its taste and texture.

Find out more about how to store food safely. Page last reviewed: 21 May Next review due: 21 May Beans and pulses in your diet - Eat well Secondary navigation Food and diet Nutrition and food groups Eating a balanced diet 8 tips for healthy eating The Eatwell Guide Food labels Food labelling terms Reference intakes on food labels Starchy foods and carbohydrates Dairy and alternatives Meat in your diet Fish and shellfish The healthy way to eat eggs Beans and pulses Water, drinks and your health Eating processed foods.

Why 5 A Day? What counts? Fat: the facts Salt: the facts Sugar: the facts Top sources of added sugar What does calories look like? Red meat and the risk of bowel cancer What is a Mediterranean diet? How to prepare and cook food safely How to store food and leftovers How to prevent food poisoning What to do with raw chicken Cooking turkey How to wash fruit and vegetables The truth about sweeteners Wild salmon parasite warning Sprouted seeds safety advice.

Calorie checker. Eight healthy eating tips How to eat more fibre Food swaps Breakfast cereals Cut down on saturated fat: tips Cut down on salt: tips Cut down on sugar: tips Eating out Takeaways Food and drinks for sport Healthier eating for teens Foods to avoid if you're over One You Easy Meals app. Common digestive problems and what to do Good foods to help your digestion Tips for a healthy tummy Beat the bloat Should you cut out bread to stop bloating?

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Any plant sourced as edible food is considered a vegetable and in culinary terms it will Are Beans Vegetable, Fruit, Legume or Grain? . should be counted in the same group as quinoa, soy or, if you are a pescatarian, fish. Pulses, such as lentils and beans, are a great source of protein and form part of a healthy diet. Pulses are also a starchy food and add fibre to your meal. The following is an at-a-glance chart of foods that belong to each food group. It is not a FOODS IN THE FOOD GROUP. FOOD Vegetable Subgroups: Beans.

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