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Lupins, they are highly energetic legumes that have honestly won their place at the table for some time in our Mediterranean diet. They have numerous properties: the usual legumes and some only "from Lupini", we find them in traditional recipes but also as snack companions, as snacks even at local folk festivals. It is not just an Italian legume, however, and its international names prove it. It is called Altramuz chocho blanco in Spanish, Wolfsbohne in German and White lupine in English.
There Lupine plant it is known in botany as Lupinus albus L., and belongs to the Papilionaceae Leguminosae family. It comes from Eastern countries and this genus includes over 200 species, the most famous and used are L. albus, in the phytotherapeutic and food field, L. littoralis, L. laxiflorus, L. termis and L. hirsutus in that herbal.
It has a little branched stem that does not exceed 70 centimeters in height, the plant, also cultivated in Italy and which, before the Lupins, gives large flowers. showy and whitish. Legumes also contain those we eat and which appear as crushed, lenticular and yellowish-white seeds.
Cultivating the Lupine plant it is quite simple because it adapts to acidic and arid soils and also to difficult and unfavorable climates. In addition to being simple, it is also convenient, because it acts on the soil that hosts it, even improving its fertility.
At one time this legume was produced in abundant quantities, and equally in demand, then with the phenomenon of displacement of the poorest areas of the population, precisely those that consumed the most, Lupins have suffered a production slump. Today they are certainly not in danger of extinction, indeed, but their cultivation is generally limited to areas of the South.
Among the legumes i Lupins they are considered a good natural remedy to combat eczema and scabies but are mostly used for their more known diuretic and emmenagogic properties. Taken in the form of decoctions, they can also act as a natural febrifuge, they are also perfect for celiacs since they do not contain gluten.
Among the most appreciated characteristics of this legume are the nutraceutical and medicinal properties, it also contains traces of inhibitors of lecithins, trypsin, isoflavones and cyanogenic compounds. This is why it is being studied in the medical-scientific field: it could be a turning point in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension in particular.
Other investigations are underway to investigate whether i Lupins they can also help against hyperglycemia and be considered an insulin substitute, useful in mild and medium severity diabetes mellitus. These are, in the last lines above, theories yet to be confirmed, scientific certainties are lacking today, the hope is to be able to crown lupins as a new food also for therapeutic use for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Lupins and cholesterol
Thanks to the presence of omega-3 and omega-6, i Lupins they have shown that they can also help us in controlling cholesterol. In fact, these fatty acids help to reduce that “bad” cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, one of the responsible for cardiovascular diseases.
Together with the Lupins, other allies against cholesterol are pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. Moreover, they are also foods already recommended for a healthy and varied diet, so if we have not already included them in the menu, we will provide. Cholesterol high or low, they are still important for our health.
Someone before including Lupins in their diet will also want to know the calories they bring: we are talking about legumes for which we cannot expect the low numbers of zucchini or strawberries. One hectogram of Lupins ensures 114 kcal, with 69% of water, 16.5% of proteins, 7% of carbohydrates and the remaining 6.5% divided between fibers and fats.
Lupins: nutritional values
From a nutritional point of view, lupins generously offer abundant quantities of mineral salts, in particular iron and potassium. Equally rich, or almost, is the dose that is obtained of vitamin B1. For the rest, these legumes supply organic acids, resins, lupeol, galactose, arginine, vanillin and lecithin in variable percentages.
Among the alkaloids contained there is lupotoxin: it is a potentially toxic molecule but with heat it loses its bad intentions. This is why Lupins should always be consumed after cooking.
THE dried lupins they require a rather long soaking time before cooking and are therefore the least sold. In terms of yield, nutritional, and in terms of cost, quality and flavor, they have nothing to be forgiven, but the idea of the inevitable long hours of soaking condemn them to be a niche product.
In commerce, and in the shopping carts of Italians, there are mostly the Lupins cooked and vacuum-packed, practical: they are ready to eat and also rich in all the nutrients without any difference with the buckets.
Today Lupins are consumed mainly as a snack, rather than as a meal, although they continue to be present in many traditional recipes and are well appreciated. At one time they were also used as a substitute for coffee: “lupine coffee” had a very bitter taste, however, so its powder was mixed with that of barley or wheat to obtain a more drinkable blend.
There lupine flour it is sometimes used as a vermifuge and anthelmintic, very often we find it as indicated for cattle breeding. It is actually used to prepare gluten-free foods, biscuits and even chocolate and mayonnaise. To find out more, I recommend reading the article "Lupins and Lupine flour”
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