Locust beans, also known as African locust beans or “irú” in Yoruba, are a type of legume that is native to Africa. They are a good source of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Locust beans are also used as a food thickener and flavor enhancer in many African cuisines.
In recent years, there has been growing interest in the potential health benefits of locust beans. Studies have shown that locust beans may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. Locust beans may also be helpful for weight loss and blood pressure control.
Nutritional Value of Locust Beans
Locust beans are a good source of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. They contain all nine essential amino acids, as well as vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium.
One cup (170 grams) of cooked locust beans contains approximately:
- Calories: 210
- Protein: 15 grams
- Fat: 10 grams
- Carbohydrates: 25 grams
- Fiber: 10 grams
- Iron: 20% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Calcium: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 10% of the DV
Benefits of Locust Beans to body system
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Locust beans contain a variety of antioxidants, which are compounds that can protect cells from damage. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Locust beans also contain anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.
Studies have shown that locust beans may have anti-diabetic properties. Locust bean gum, a fiber derived from locust beans, has been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce insulin resistance.
Locust bean gum is a high-fiber, low-calorie food that can help to promote weight loss. Fiber helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals, which can lead to reduced calorie intake.
Blood Pressure Control
Studies have shown that locust bean gum may help to lower blood pressure. Locust bean gum works by binding to cholesterol in the digestive tract and preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Other Potential Benefits
In addition to the health benefits listed above, locust beans have also been shown to have the following potential health benefits:
- Boosts the immune system
- Improves digestion
- Relieves diarrhea
- Promotes good eyesight
- Protects against liver disease
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Promotes bone health
How to Eat Locust Beans
Locust beans can be eaten in a variety of ways. They can be boiled, roasted, or fried. Locust beans can also be ground into a powder and used as a food thickener or flavor enhancer.
Here are a few ideas for how to eat locust beans:
- Add locust bean powder to soups, stews, and sauces to thicken them.
- Use locust bean powder to make a gluten-free batter for frying fish, chicken, or vegetables.
- Sprinkle locust bean powder on roasted vegetables or popcorn for a savory flavor boost.
- Add locust bean powder to smoothies or yogurt for a nutritious and filling snack.
- Make a locust bean stew or soup by boiling locust beans with meat, vegetables, and spices.
Locust beans are a nutritious and delicious food that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Locust beans have also been shown to have a number of potential health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties.