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Promoting Legume Consumption: Strategies for Health, Nutrition, and Culinary Applications
* 1 , 2 , 3 , 3 , 4 , 3 , 1 , 5
1  Department of Human Sciences and Promotion of the Quality of Life, San Raffaele Roma Open University, 00166 Rome, Italy
2  Department of Human Sciences and Promotion of the Quality of Life, San Raffaele Open University, Via di Val Cannuta, 247, 00166 Rome, Italy
3  Department of Human Sciences and Promotion of the Quality of Life, San Raffaele Open University, 00166 Rome, Italy
4  Department of Human Sciences and Promotion of Quality of Life San Raffaele Open University, Rome
5  Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi 0023351, Ghana
Academic Editor: Antonello Santini


Legumes are functional foods that offer significant potential for improving health and nutrition. However, there are several barriers that limit the widespread consumption of legumes despite their numerous health benefits and nutrient density. This presentation focuses on scientifically sound strategies to address these barriers and increase the intake of legumes in the context of functional foods, nutrition and health.

One of the innovative strategies discussed concerns legume pre-processing methods, such as soaking, sprouting and pulsed electric field technology. These methods effectively reduce anti-nutritional factors in pulses and cooking time, thus improving their digestibility. In addition, extrusion technology enables the development of functional food products enriched with pulses, expanding the possibilities of using pulses beyond traditional preparations.

Culinary techniques play an important role in making pulses more palatable and versatile. For instance, incorporating legumes into salads, sprouts, stews, soups, hummus and homemade desserts with legume flour can increase the palatability of these foods.

The presentation highlights the nutritional and health benefits associated with the consumption of legumes, emphasising their functional properties and their potential to support specific health outcomes. It also explores the role of nutrition education and awareness-raising campaigns in promoting legumes, considering their impact on sustainable food choices and environmental sustainability.

The integration of scientific knowledge, culinary experience and educational approaches can contribute to greater acceptance and use of legumes as functional foods. This, in turn, can improve health and nutrition outcomes. The presentation also explores the scientific evidence supporting the role of legumes in the treatment of specific health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and gastrointestinal health. Furthermore, it analyses the bioactive compounds present in legumes and their mechanisms of action, highlighting the potential in the development of functional foods targeted at specific health problems. Finally, the synergistic effects of legumes in combination with other functional ingredients, such as herbs, spices and probiotics, are explored to further enhance their functional properties.

Keywords: legumes; functional foods; nutrition; health; consumption; digestibility; nutritional profile; culinary approaches; sustainable food; dietary guidelines; nutrition education; bioactive compounds; functional ingredients