This review evaluates the potential health benefits of three legume sources that rarely appear in Western diets and are often overlooked as functional foods. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) and isolated fenugreek fractions have been shown to act as hypoglycaemic and hypocholesterolaemic agents in both animal and human studies. The unique dietary fibre composition and high saponin content in fenugreek appears to be responsible for these therapeutic properties. Faba beans (Vicia faba) have lipid-lowering effects and may also be a good source of antioxidants and chemopreventive factors. Mung beans (Phaseolus aureus, Vigna radiatus) are thought to be beneficial as an antidiabetic, low glycaemic index food, rich in anti-oxidants. Evidence suggests that these three novel sources of legumes may provide health benefits when included in the daily diet.
- Faba beans
- Mung beans