Beans, Peas, and Lentils

Because of their high protein content, legumes are often thought to be a partial replacement tor the protein from animal products. Yet the idea of complementing the protein of legumes with other foods to make it more “complete” and like that of animal protein is an idea that gains unquestioned acceptance only in a society obsessed with protein.

Nevertheless, there are many people who do not digest legumes well and experience problems with flatulence and allergies. In many of these cases the problem may lie in improper preparation, wrong choice of legume, and poor food combining, all of which are discussed in the membership posts.

The healing properties of legumes & beans:

  • Regulate sugar, water, and other aspects of metabolism.
  • Promote balanced sexual activity and proper growth and development of the body, including the brain. These same activities come under the domain of the kidney-adrenal functions according to Chinese medicine, which also embraces the bean as a proper food for the kidneys.
  • On the other hand, legumes balance the excessive strong and robust person, including those with sign of overweight, heat, or dump conditions such as yeasts or edema. Once again, soybean is the exception –it reduces heat but is not good for yeast or overweight conditions.

As a rule, legumes are drying and diuretic. Thus, except for soybean products, they are not ideal foods for thin, dry, frail, or generally deficient persons. For those who wish to counteract this tendency in legumes Ayurveda suggests combining them with oily foods.

Adding seaweeds and sufficient salt also creates a moistening effect in legumes that is lighter than the effect of oily foods.

In addition to acknowledging the generally beneficial effect on kidneys, another traditional practice exists in China in which legumes are assigned healing value according to their Five Element color

  • Red legumes
    such as aduki bean, red lentil, and kidney bean influence the Fire Element, heart, and small intestines
  • Yellow legumes
    such as garbanzo bean, yellow pea and soybean influence the Earth Element, spleen – pancreas, and stomach
  • White legumes
    such as lima bean, navy bean, and great northern bean influence the Metal Element, lungs, and large intestine
  • Dark, black, and brown legumes
    such as black bean, black soybean, and brown lentil influence the Water Element, kidneys, and bladder; green legumes such as mung bean, green pea, and fresh green bean influence the Wood Element, liver, and gall bladder


Legumes are not only high in protein, but also in fat and carbohydrate. They are rich sources of potassium, calcium, iron, and several B-vitamins. Sprouted legumes are an excellent source of vitamin C and enzymes.

The following section gives the unique properties of each legume.[1]

If you want to learn more about energy and healing property of Legumes, visit our Membership site of follow our online programs of read our books “Food as medicine”.

[1] Pitchford, Paul, Healing with whole food. Asian tradition and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California, 2002.