Dr. Tim Says....

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.

The word legume refers not only to the species of plants, but also to any fruit that grows seeds lined up in a pod. (I find it interesting that peas and black beans are actually considered to be fruit.) Also known as pulses, legumes include beans, soybeans, lentils, peas, peanuts, snap beans, and any edible pod such as green beans, pole beans, and okra.

Legumes are full of protein and fiber, but most of their calories come from carbohydrates. Because they are starchy it is easy to make them part of your meals in place of pasta, rice or potatoes.

I believe that these little guys are one of the most powerful additions you can make in your diet. One study of 10,000 men and women showed that eating a single serving of lentils or chickpeas per week dramatically reduced the risk of heart disease. The cool thing is that the more you eat, the lower your risk. Legumes in the Mediterranean Diet »

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The Mediterranean Diet

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Featured Recipes

Chilled Corn Bisque with Shrimp

Chilled Corn Bisque with Shrimp Recipe by Dr. Gourmet

There are a lot of great things about legumes, but one of the best is that they can help make your creamy soups creamy while adding a lot of fiber and quality protein.

The shrimp topping for this soup makes it a complete meal, and you can go in a lot of directions with the seasoning. Use a bit of chili powder or curry powder in the shrimp and avocado, or even some smoked paprika to change the character of the soup.

Mushroom-Spinach Fried Rice

I talk about calorie density a lot and this is a great example of where you can eat a lot of delicious food, be really filled up and satisfied, and have it be less than 400 calories. By using veggies to reduce the calorie density, you get more food, it's cheaper, and it's better for you - all while being great tasting.

Palak Paneer

There is everything good to be said for this dish. It is a traditional Indian recipe and you may have to search for the paneer cheese. It is, however, low in calories and sodium but still has a lot of flavor.

The extra step of blanching the spinach and then refreshing it in ice water isn't absolutely necessary, but makes for a much brighter and more appetizing color.

Chana Masala

Chickpeas are one of my favorites and so is Indian food. It's best to purchase your Indian spices - garam masala, turmeric, curry powder and the like - at an Indian or Asian market where you can usually buy smaller amounts so that they are fresher when you get ready to use them (unless you plan to make a lot of Indian recipes).

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