Lupins: properties, uses and contraindications of the legume that purifies the body

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Elia Tabuenca García

What are the properties of lupins and why these legumes should be introduced more into our diet

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What are the properties of lupins and why these legumes should be introduced more into our diet. But how to cook them? And how to use them in the kitchen?

I lupins they are ancient vegetable known since the times of the Egyptians and the Maya. They were already cultivated 4000 years ago in the regions bordering the Mediterranean. Already the Greeks and Romans knew and appreciated lupins.

Lupins have long been cultivated both for soil improvement, as they are nitrogen-rich plants, and for grazing as well as for human nutrition. Now their rediscovery mainly concerns the preparation of protein-rich food products suitable for vegetarians and vegans but also gluten-free foods.


Properties of lupins

Just like other more well-known and popular legumes, such as chickpeas and beans, lupins are legumes rich in protein and are naturally gluten-free. They are considered an important source of vegetable proteins and due to their richness in fibers it is believed that they can help prevent diseases affecting the intestine as they favor the purification of the organism and the elimination of toxins.

We can consider lupins as a food rich in nutritional properties that definitely needs to be rediscovered since lupins are not only a source of protein and fiber but also of vitamins and mineral salts, especially magnesium, calcium and iron.

From the point of view of iron, it is interesting to know that consuming legumes in combination with sources of vitamin C, for example by dressing them with lemon juice, promotes their absorption. We can consider lupins as vegetable sources of protein and iron suitable for everyone, even vegetarians and vegans, including those who must follow a gluten-free diet.

Il protein content of lupins is comparable to that of soy, but also to that of meat and eggs, always taking into account that for lupins we are talking about vegetable proteins and that the suggestion is to consume legumes and whole grains if not in the same meal at least on the same day so that our body has all the amino acids necessary to form proteins are available - a valid advice especially for those who are vegetarians or vegans.

Calories and nutritional values ​​of lupins

Lupins are valued above all for theirs high protein content. In fact, consulting the nutritional values ​​of lupins we discover that these ancient legumes contain an almost equal content of proteins and carbohydrates, given that in 100 grams of lupins we find 40 grams of carbohydrates and 36 grams of protein.

Here are the nutritional values ​​corresponding to 100 grams of lupins:

  • Calories 371
  • 10 g fat
  • Saturated fatty acids 1,2 g
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids 2,4 g
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids 3,9 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 15 mg
  • Potassium 1.013 mg
  • G carbohydrates 40
  • Dietary fiber 19 g
  • 36 g protein
  • Vitamin A 0 IU
  • Vitamin C 4,8 mg
  • Vitamin B6 0,4 mg
  • Vitamin B12 0 μg
  • Magnesium 198 mg
  • Calcium 176 mg
  • Iron 4,4 mg

Uses and recipes of lupins

Lupins are mainly used as a side dish and to prepare meatballs with legumes and vegetable burgers. For these preparations it is very easy to use the pre-cooked lupins that we find on sale in grocery stores.

Lupine flour is produced with these legumes, which is used in particular to prepare vegetable burgers, vegetable meatballs, pasta, bread, breadsticks, farinata, soups and veloutés, crackers, batters and breading, focaccias, savory pies.

You can use lupins above all as a side dish, as an ingredient for rustic soups, moles minestrone and between aperitifs.

How to cook lupins

To eliminate a toxic substance present in lupins, the lupine, these legumes are cooked by boiling and then soaked in brine. Sailors in the past used to soak lupins directly in seawater. Modern agriculture has allowed us to have lupins available which contain lower quantities of lupinine than in the past.

Dried lupins need a long soak in order to eliminate unwanted substances, therefore for the common use in the kitchen it is advisable to buy the pre-cooked lupins, preserved in brine, ready and safe for consumption.

Recipes with lupins

Lupins and lupine flour are well suited as ingredients in the preparation of baked goods such as bread and focaccia, but also meatballs and vegetable burgers. Whole are also excellent in salads. Here are some of our lupine-based recipes:

  • Spring salad of legumes with broad beans and lupins
  • Lupine-based vegan cheese
  • Rice salad in a jar with lupins
  • Homemade breadsticks with lupine flour
  • Semolina bread and lupine flour

Where to find lupins

Lupins are usually found on sale already cooked, in brine, in supermarkets, markets and fairs. Lupins in brine should be well drained and rinsed before using them otherwise they risk being too salty.

Contraindications of lupins

Lupins do not present particular considerations, except for the presence of lupinine, a toxic and very bitter substance which is eliminated with cooking and brine. Obviously, those who know they are allergic to these foods should not consume lupins. Frequent consumption of pickled lupins - very salty - could be contraindicated for those suffering from hypertension and heart problems.

Only buy cooked lupins and not dried lupins if you don't know how to prepare them to eliminate toxic substances, since the residues of these substances can have side effects, especially on the gastrointestinal level. If you have any doubts, consult your doctor.

On lupins you might also be interested in:

  • Lupine flour: beneficial properties and uses
  • 10 good reasons to eat a handful of olives and lupins every day
  • Lupins; effective against diabetes: they stimulate insulin production
  • The wonderful bloom of lupins in Texas
  • Tarwi: history, properties and benefits of the Peruvian Andean lupine


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