How antinutrients found in legumes and legume-based products affect the bioavailability of nutrients

University essay from SLU/Department of Molecular Sciences

Abstract: As a plant-based diet has been more advocated for various reasons, legumes have become an important pillar in such a diet. Brown beans, yellow peas, green peas and fava beans are the dominating grain legumes grown in Sweden are a natural source of proteins, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients possess an essential role in the function of the human body and a lack of those can cause malnutrition and other health depleting effects. However, the use of legumes is somewhat limited by the presence of other bioactive compounds, referred to as antinutritional factors (ANF). Lectins, tannins, oxalate and protease inhibitors are a few examples that can create problems in the absorption of proteins, iron, potassium, calcium and other nutrients. The level of both nutrients and antinutrients varies between cultivars and within the spices, the stage of harvest and other factors that need further investigation. Recent studies have been indicating that ANF prove positive effects on the health like anti-cancerogenic and cholesterol lowering effects. Therefore, the purpose of the report is to inform about potential problems and possibilities that follow legumes, and a legume-based diet, in terms of bioavailability of nutrients.

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