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Lupins: properties and benefits – Manzanaroja Diet

lupinswhich are usually eaten as a snack, They are very versatile legumes in the kitchen.ideal for many recipes and rich in nutritional benefits. In addition, they are sources of protein and fiber, satiating, low in calories and gluten-free.. That is why they are perfect if you are a vegetarian, celiac, follow a weight loss diet or simply want to vary your diet.

Therefore, in our article, we will explain in depth everything about lupins, their properties and benefits, and how to enjoy them.

Lupins: what are they

Lupins are the seeds of the Lupinus planta legume of the fabáceas or papilionáceas family native to eastern countries. It is from the same family as the other legumes on our table, from beans to peas.going through broad beans and lentils.

There are several species of lupines, not all groceries. Among the most common in Europe are the white lupine (Lupinus Albus), which is one of the most interesting species from the food point of view, the yellow lupine (Lupinus Luteus) and the blue lupine (Lupinus Angustifolius).

Plants, flowers and seeds

The lupine is an annual plant with strong roots and a slightly branched upright stem that can reach up to 1.5 m in height. The leaves are alternate, formed by a long petiole, at the top of which there are 5-9 entire ovate (egg-shaped)-lanceolate leaflets, glabrous on the upper page, often velvety on the underside. At the top of the stem, a cluster inflorescence collects the flowers, which are large and of variable color depending on the variety.

After fertilization, which is predominantly autogamous, long, erect legumes are formed, close to the axis of the inflorescence, which contain numerous (3-6) seeds.

The seeds are large, with lens-shaped, up to 15 mm in diameter.

The peculiar characteristic of the lupine is that it adapts to the most inhospitable environments, with a marked predisposition for acid and arid soils, where other plants, including legumes, struggle to grow.

Sowing takes place in October-November, ripening in June-July.

Chemical composition of lupins

Water (g) Energy (Kcal) Proteins (g) Lipids (g) Cholesterol (mg) Available carbohydrates (g) Soluble sugars (g) fibers
73 119 16.4 2.4 0 7.1 0.5 2.8

Lupins: nutritional properties

Lupines are very rich in vegetable proteins: contain up to 16.4 g per 100 g. These proteins have a lower biological value than animal proteins. because they lack some essential amino acids. However, the combination of legumes and cereals makes it possible to make up for the deficiencies of each other and obtain an excellent source of protein, suitable for vegetarians or for those who want to reduce their meat consumption.

Lupines are also a source of soluble fiber and “good” polyunsaturated fatssuch as omega 3 and omega 6.

Rich in minerals, they contain above all potassium and phosphorus, but also iron and calcium. Among the vitamins, they mainly provide B vitamins.

Nutritional values ​​of lupins per 100 grams


  • Calcium: 45mg
  • Phosphorus: 100mg
  • Iron: 5.5mg


  • Thiamine: 0.1mg
  • Riboflavin: 0.01mg
  • Niacin: 0.2mg

Lupins: benefits

Useful for controlling blood sugar

Among the most interesting beneficial properties of lupins Its hypoglycemic effect stands out, which makes it useful in cases of diabetes.

This is due to its richness in soluble fiber, which slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and helps reduce glycemic peaks.

But a particular protein that lupins contain also contributes to this beneficial action. This is conglutin-gamma, which according to recent studies has an action similar to insulin, with hypoglycemic effects.

For this reason, the use of dietary supplements based on lupine seed powder is being studied as an adjuvant in the control of glycemia in cases of diabetes.

Cholesterol and heart health benefits

Thanks to its content of good fats Omega 3 and 6lupins help keep bad cholesterol levels in the blood under control and help prevent the risk of arrhythmias, with general positive effects on the heart.

The positive effects of lupins on cardiovascular health are seen reinforced by vitamins B9 and B1important for good cardiovascular function. In addition, the high intake of potassium helps to regulate blood pressure.

Bone health allies

The good content of calcium and phosphorus makes lupins are useful for strengthening the bonesboth in children and young people of growing age, as well as in those stages of life in which the bone system is prone to fragility.

Lupins are beneficial in menopausewhen hormonal changes expose women to an increased risk of osteoporosis, or in old agewhen bone density is physiologically reduced.

Suitable for coeliacs

Lupines do not contain glutenso they can be safely consumed by celiacs.

Just eat them as is. (fresh, frozen, dried and canned) or check that they only consist of:

  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Citric acid
  • tomato concentrate

In the case of dried legumes, it is advisable to check whether the packaging contains foreign bodies, such as seeds or grains that differ from the legume, which could be due to contamination during production and packaging.

However, the very rare presence of seeds or whole grains should not be a cause for concern, since gluten is found in the innermost part of the cereal grain, so direct gluten contamination is not possible if it is not present. eat the cereal. It is enough to delete them so as not to run any risk.

Ideal for diets

The lupins are ideal for dieting due to their low caloric intake (119 kcal per 100 g) and its high soluble fiber content, which promotes satiety.

Therefore, eating lupins with meals or as a snack to break hunger helps to better control yourself at the table.

diet with lupins

Tips for buying and eating lupins

Raw lupines have certain components, the alkaloids, which in addition to having a bitter taste are potentially toxic. These are in particular lupotoxin, lupanin and oscilupanin, which could trigger undesirable effects such as vomiting and fever and alter blood pressure values.

For this reason, it is important, before consuming lupins, to neutralize these substances, which are rendered harmless by the heat of cooking and by proper preparation processes.such as debittering, which, by prolonged soaking in water and salt, allows the alkaloids to be eliminated.

To solve this risky inconvenience, botanists are working to perfect and correct the genetic profile of lupine, with the aim of reducing the amount of alkaloids in the seeds.

The soaked lupins that you find in the supermarket, vacuum-packed, in glass jars or in cans, they have already been debittered, so you can consume them without risk. It is enough to rinse them well in running water to remove the salt from the brine.

If, on the other hand, you buy dried lupins, you can debitter them at home.

How to debitter lupins

After boiling, the dried lupins must be debittered by soaking them for at least 5 days in salted water. Here is the step-by-step procedure for 500g of dried lupines:

  • Soak the lupines in cold water for 12 hours.
  • Drain and rinse them under the tap.
  • Pour the lupines into a saucepan, cover with water, and cook for about an hour from the moment they start to boil.
  • Drain and rinse to cool.
  • The defoliation process begins: pour a liter of water and 30 g of salt into a container, stir and add the lupins so that they are completely covered by the salt water. If necessary, add more, keeping the same ratio of water and salt.
  • Change the soaking salt water twice a day, morning and night, for 5 days. Each time you do this, rinse the lupins under running water before pouring them back into the saltwater solution.
  • After the last soak, rinse the lupines well and they will be ready to eat.

How to prepare pickled lupins

After debittering the lupines, you can prepare a brine by following our tips to keep them longer.

  • Pour 1.5 liters of water and 90g of salt into a large saucepan, once it boils, add the lupins, cover with a lid and, from the moment the water boils, simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Pour the still boiling lupins into the previously sterilized jars, cover them with the brine (being careful to leave 2 cm from the edge) and close hermetically.
  • Allow the jars to cool until a vacuum forms, at which point you can keep the lupines in brine in the pantry for several months.
cooked lupines

Lupins in the kitchen: ideas to enjoy them

Lupins, with their slightly tart flavor, lend themselves to many uses in the kitchen. integers, plus as a snackare excellent for enriching salads and soups, while mixed together they form a tasty base for meatballs and veggie burgers.

You can use lupins as an alternative to classic chickpeas to make hummus. Or a vegan mayonnaise without eggs: just mix the lupins with soy “milk”, sunflower oil, mustard and apple cider vinegar.

Formerly, lupins were also used to prepare a coffee substitutethe “lupin coffee”. If you want to try making lupine coffee at home, you just have to roast the dry and undebittered lupines, grind them and use this powder instead of the classic coffee.: As it has a very bitter taste, it is recommended to mix it with other coffee substitutes, such as barley and wheat.

dried lupines

alternative uses

The lupins not only are grown for food, but also have other uses:

  • In livestock: Grinding the lupins a flour is obtained that is used as fodder.
  • As fertilizer: Ground lupines are an excellent fertilizer, rich in nitrogen and completely natural, making them highly suitable for organic farming.
  • For ornamental purposes: Flowering lupines are ornamental shrubs used in gardens and grown not for their seeds, but for the beauty of their bloom.
  • In phytotherapy: In ancient times, lupins were considered a good natural remedy against scabies and eczema. Today, these legumes are used in phytotherapy mainly for their diuretic, emmenagogue (capable of promoting menstruation, therefore useful in cases of ammonorrhea), febrifuge (especially in the form of decoction) action.


Lupines can have a laxative effect, so it is better not to exceed the portions. It is advisable not to exceed 100 g in the case of soaked lupins and 30 g in the case of dry ones.

For those with allergies to lentils, beans or peanuts, lupins can cause diarrhea and stomach pain.. Therefore, it is recommended to limit their consumption or avoid them if they are annoying.


Lupins have been cultivated since ancient times – the Mayans and Egyptians already knew about them – in the Mediterranean and Near East areas and beyond. They were important for foodbut also because the plant, rich in nitrogen, improves soil fertility. In addition, it produces a grain with a very high protein content, used as cattle feed.

At one time, the production of lupins was very abundant due to the great market demand, but in the last decades the demand has plummeted. In recent years, however, this legume has undergone a rediscovery.. This is mainly due to its high protein content, which makes it suitable for vegetarians, and the absence of gluten, so it is also suitable for coeliacs.

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