Health benefits of legumes and pulses with a focus on Australian sweet lupins

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2016;25(1):1-17. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.2016.25.1.23.


Background and objectives: The 68th United Nations General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Therefore it is timely to review the current evidence of the benefits of legumes for human health with a focus on Australian sweet lupins.

Methods and study design: Medline, Pubmed, Cochrane library were searched to identify cross-sectional/epidemiological studies, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews.

Results: The strongest evidence appears to be for links between eating legumes and reduced risk of colorectal cancer as well as eating soy foods and reduced LDL cholesterol. However, epidemiological studies and RCTs suggest that replacing several meat-based meals a week with legumes can have a positive impact on longevity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and weight management, potentially via favourable effects on the gut microbiome. Sweet lupins are unique among legumes with one of the highest combined amounts of digestible plant protein (38%) and dietary fibre (30%). Unlike other legumes, their low amount of anti-nutritional factors negates the need for soaking/cooking and they can therefore be eaten uncooked. Sweet lupins may lower blood pressure, improve blood lipids and insulin sensitivity and favourably alter the gut microbiome. There is growing interest in pulses, especially sweet lupins, as ingredients to improve the nutritional value of baked goods (particularly gluten free) and to create novel products to replace meat.

Conclusion: Legumes form part of most traditional diets. They, including sweet lupins, can play a useful role in health maintenance.

背景和目的:第68 屆聯合國大會宣布2016 年為國際豆類年。這是一個好時機 來查證豆科植物,特別是澳洲甜羽扇豆,對人體健康的現有證據。方法與研 究設計:搜尋Medline、Pubmed、Cochrane 圖書館資料庫以找出橫斷性/流行 病學研究、隨機控制試驗(RCTs)以及系統性回顧文獻。結果:最強的證據 是食用豆類與降低大腸直腸癌,以及食用黃豆食物與降低低密度脂蛋白膽固 醇的關聯性。再者,流行病學研究及RCT 建議每週以豆類取代幾餐以肉為主 的餐食,透過腸道菌相潛在有益作用,對於延壽、糖尿病、心血管疾病及體 重控制有正面影響。甜羽扇豆在豆類中的獨特性是它們有合併最高量的可消 化植物性蛋白(38%)及膳食纖維(30%)。不同於其它豆類,他們的抗營養 因子低,所以不需要浸泡/烹調,即可生食。甜羽扇豆可降低血壓、改善血脂 及胰島素敏感性,並對腸道菌相有利。越來越多對豆類的興趣,特別是甜羽 扇豆,如作為改善烘焙食物(特別是無麩質)營養價值的成分,及取代肉類 的創新產品。結論:豆類是最傳統飲食中的一部份。豆類,包括甜羽扇豆, 可在健康維持上扮演有用的角色。.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Fabaceae*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Lupinus*
  • Microbiota
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins