Nutritional Protein Quality of Legumes

Legumes are an important source of protein. Chickpeas, lentils, cowpeas, preen peas, green beans, broad beans and many other forms of legumes can contribute significantly to human protein needs. Pulses are the seeds of leguminous plants, and generally they are a good source of protein, but are low in methionine. Therefore pulses are not able to supply the protein requirements for humans in isolation, and some other source of protein is required. Soy is claimed to be able to supply the protein requirements of humans as the methionine content of soybeans is higher than other pulses. However, soy still has much lower levels of methionine compared to meat, although it does provide more than mycoprotein. Therefore pulses supply a good source of protein when consumed as part of a healthy diet, but in reality would be a poor source of protein if consumed as the sole nutritional source of amino acids. However, as this latter scenario is unlikely, legumes must be considered an important protein source for humans.  

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Iqbal, A., Khalil, I. A., Ateeq, N. and Khan, M. S. 2006. Nutritional quality of important food legumes. Food chemistry. 97(2): 331-335

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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