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A nutritionist shares the 'underrated' longevity food that boosts the immune system

A nutritionist shares the 'underrated' longevity food that boosts the

By Samantha Heller/ Looking for a healthy, inexpensive protein that can boost your immune system and help you live longer? Grab some legumes the next time you're at the grocery store.

Many people don't immediately think of legumes when it comes to longevity foods. But as a nutritionist, I eat them every day as part of my vegan diet to keep my body strong and help fight disease.

The most common varieties of legumes are beans, including black beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, peas, and lima beans.

Here are some key health benefits of legumes:

Protein: Legumes are an excellent source of protein, which is essential for many biological functions. One cup provides five to 10 grams of protein.

Fiber: Legumes are an important source of dietary fiber – one cup contains 4 to 14 grams. Fiber helps strengthen the immune system, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, manage blood sugar and improve gastrointestinal health.

Minerals: Legumes contain minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. These play essential roles in processes such as oxygen utilization and immune function.

Antioxidants: Beans contain several polyphenol compounds (known as healthy plant chemicals), including tannins, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. These are powerful antioxidants that repair cells and tissues.