Cereals and Legumes Nutrition And Health Benefits: The Best Combination

The cereals and legumes form the basis of a Mediterranean diet. The evolution of the consumption of these foods makes it possible to promote a healthy diet more and more. Therefore, they play a fundamental role in the nutrition and health of citizens. In this blog we will explain what are the main characteristics of both cereals and legumes, as well as the benefits that each one provides separately and when they are combined. Read on to find out!

What are cereals and legumes?

Both cereals and legumes are very beneficial foods for health. They are versatile in the kitchen and allow you to have a healthy and balanced diet. In addition, if they are taken in adequate amounts, it could even reduce the consumption of meat since they can provide the same nutrients. For example, chickpeas, corn, lentils, oats, whole wheat pasta, etc., are some of the foods that could be replaced by meat.

The following are the main characteristics of cereals and legumes:


Cereals are any herb grown for the edible components of its grain. They contain high levels of carbohydrates, they are rich in protein, fat, vitamin A, B6, B12, C, calcium, phosphorus, amino acids and other minerals. Some examples of cereals are:

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Barley
  • Oatmeal
  • Rye
  • Sorghum


Legumes are edible seeds. They are grown annually and harvested as dry grains. Its production improves soil quality, reduces greenhouse gases and requires less water than any other crop. They are rich in complex carbohydrates, which are absorbed slowly and help avoid energy drops. They are also rich in other nutrients such as proteins, amino acids such as tryptophan, essential for mood, fibers, vitamins and minerals such as iron (which prevents anemia) or zinc (for the immune system). And it also contains up to 13% fiber. These are:

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Green peas
  • bean
  • Green beans
  • Broad beans

Benefits of combining cereals and legumes

Animal proteins, if taken separately, contain a higher biological value than vegetable proteins. By the time we correctly combine different plant foods, we are already improving this quality of protein. However, to complete our dishes even more, you can also add foods of animal origin. For example, complement a bowl of lentils with egg.

When we talk about proteins, we must take into account that the protein is of quality. That is, it has the essential amino acids to obtain a good proportion. Legumes, for example, lack methionine. In contrast, cereals are rich in methionine and deficient in lysine, another essential amino acid that legumes do contain. That means that combining legumes with cereals is a good option to obtain all the amino acids necessary to form complete proteins. For example, you can prepare a dish of lentils with rice, chickpeas with couscous, or even peas with pasta.

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