Fueling Your Yoga Practice: The Power of Legumes in Your Diet

As we have mentioned before, yoga extends far beyond the mat, as practising yoga includes not only asanas and poses but also a holistic approach to life and well-being.

The nourishment of our body with wholesome foods that support our energy levels, our flexibility, and our overall well-being is vital in order to be able to deal with everyday responsibilities. 

Legumes are sometimes a “misunderstood” food group, but, in fact, there are incredible benefits to incorporating legumes into your diet. These nutrient-packed marvels can support your yoga journey, providing the nourishment your body needs to reach new heights on and off the mat.

Why legumes are essential for our body?

Your Protein Powerhouse

Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas, are excellent sources of plant-based protein that, along with animal protein, contribute to muscle repair and growth making them an essential component for yogis who engage in regular physical activity.

Your Energy Booster

Yoga is all about balance and harmony, and so is the energy you get from legumes. Unlike refined carbohydrates that can lead to energy spikes and crashes, the complex carbohydrates in legumes provide a steady release of energy. This energy is excellent for maintaining focus during your yoga practice and promoting endurance throughout the day.

Your Digestive System Friend

A healthy gut is the foundation of overall well-being, and legumes are excellent for promoting digestive health. Legumes contain fibre, which contributes to supporting regular bowel movements and a thriving gut microbiome. Hence, the consumption of legumes can reduce bloating and discomfort.

Your Doshas Balance

In Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine closely linked to yoga, balancing your doshas is key to maintaining optimal health. Legumes can help balance the doshas with their diverse nutrients. A mix of legumes in your meals is the best way to find a harmonious equilibrium that aligns with your body’s needs.

How to Incorporate Legumes in Your Diet

You may think legumes can be tricky to combine with other foods, but we got you some easy and enjoyable ways to do so and benefit from all the nutrients that legumes can offer.

Also, most of the time, people do not know how to cook legumes properly, and this often leads to gas and bloating symptoms while consuming legumes. 

 

Tips on Cooking Legumes

– Soak legumes at least one night before cooking them since it reduces the cooking time and can help break down complex carbohydrates as well as reduce certain compounds that can make them harder to digest. Also, contain antinutrients such as phytic acid and lectins, which can interfere with the absorption of minerals and nutrients. Soaking them can help reduce the levels of these antinutrients, potentially improving the bioavailability of minerals.

– Cook legumes well; legumes often remain crunchy and not well cooked.  To make sure they are well-cooked, you should be able to squeeze them between your 2 fingers without any effort.  Using a pressure cooker is a good option to cook legumes. Without a pressure cooker, it really needs a lot of time to cook.

– Cook them with spices or herbs that will help to digest them properly, such as laurel, cumin, ginger, and hing.

– When you cook them, make a first boil, take out the water from the first boil, and start again with fresh water.

LEGUMES IN THE DIET

Where to use legumes?

Enrich Your Salads

Take your favorite salads and chuck cooked chickpeas, black beans, or lentils into them. Legumes add a delightful texture and protein boost to your vegetables, making your salad more filling and tasty.

Enhance Your Soups and Stews

Enhance the nutritional value of soups and stews by adding legumes that increase the protein content and contribute to a heartier and more satisfying meal with all the necessary nutrients.

Healthy Dips and Spreads

Aside from hummus, which is an incredible energy booster and “nutritious bomb” for your body, you can also explore other legume-based spreads like black bean dip or lentil spread. You can use those spreads in sandwiches, wraps, or as a topping for crackers.

Legume-Snacking

Roast chickpeas or edamame and enjoy a crunchy and protein-rich snack. For added flavour, you can season them with various spices like paprika, cumin, or nutritional yeast.

Baking

Creativity doesn’t stop when it comes to legumes: incorporate legume flours into your baking. Chickpea flour, for instance, can be used to make pancakes and crepes or even as a gluten-free alternative in specific recipes.

Note: If you’re not used to consuming a lot of legumes, start slowly with them, as your digestive system may need time to adjust. Gradually increasing your intake will help your body adapt to the higher fibre content.

As you venture on your yoga journey, you will be able to feel the profound impact of wholesome nutrition on your practice and overall well-being. 

Legumes can provide your body with essential nutrients but also align your nourishment with the principles of yoga, supporting you on your path to balance, strength, and mindfulness both on and off the mat. 

Namaste to a nourished body and a focused mind!

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