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New legume sources as therapeutic agents

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Zecharia Madar*
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel
Aliza H. Stark
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel
*Corresponding author: Professor Zecharia Madar, tel +972 8 9489008, fax +972 8 9363208, email
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This review evaluates the potential health benefits of three legume sources that rarely appear in Western diets and are often overlooked as functional foods. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) and isolated fenugreek fractions have been shown to act as hypoglycaemic and hypocholesterolaemic agents in both animal and human studies. The unique dietary fibre composition and high saponin content in fenugreek appears to be responsible for these therapeutic properties. Faba beans (Vicia faba) have lipid-lowering effects and may also be a good source of antioxidants and chemopreventive factors. Mung beans (Phaseolus aureus, Vigna radiatus) are thought to be beneficial as an antidiabetic, low glycaemic index food, rich in antioxidants. Evidence suggests that these three novel sources of legumes may provide health benefits when included in the daily diet.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2002


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