Lupine Benefits

Lupine
Latin Name

Lupinus

Also Known As

Lupin, Bitter White Lupin, Broad-Leaved Lupin, Broadleaf Lupin, Egyptian Lupin, European White Lupin, Mediterranean White Lupin, White Lupin, White Lupine and Termis Seeds.

Origin

West Asia, Southern Europe

Parts Used

Seeds, Beans

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

With a history stretching back over 2,000 years, Lupines were cultivated by the early Egyptian and pre-Incan civilisations. They were also promoted by the Roman agriculturists for their role in soil fertility.

These protein and fibre rich beans were a staple in the diets of many early civilisations, especially in the Mediterranean, and were used as fodder for livestock.

Lupine Benefits

Digestive Health

Extremely high in dietary fibre, Lupine beans keep food and waste moving through the body thus preventing constipation and keeping the colon healthy. It is important that faecal matter doesn’t accumulate for long periods of time, as this can lead to the production of toxins and harmful microbes which can seriously compromise the health of the colon.

The fibre is also “prebiotic” and has been shown to promote the growth of good (probiotic) bacteria in the intestine, such as bifidobacteria. Furthermore, it can also reduce the growth of bad bacteria such as clostridium, helping to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria which in turn promotes overall digestive health.

High in Protein

Proteins are the main building blocks of the body used to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin. They are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve various functions – without protein our bodies would biochemically dismantle. Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins, when proteins are digested and broken down amino acids are left. The human body uses amino acids to make proteins to assist the body to grow, break down food and repair bodily tissue.

A 30 gram serving of Lupine beans provides around 10 grams of high quality plant-based protein. This little-known superfood provides all of the essential amino acids in highly bio-available form.

The “Journal of Nutrition” published a 1992 study which compared the bioavailability of Lupine to that of egg protein. The results showed that the human body utilised Lupine protein at about 80 percent the rate of egg protein. The study was conducted on young adult males and absorption was evaluated using the nitrogen balance technique.

Diabetes

Lupine seeds have been found to contain the glycoprotein gamma-conglutin which can effectively cross the intestinal barrier and provide anti-diabetic, glucose reducing effects. Studies have shown that it appears to influence the genes related to glucose metabolism.

Australia’s Curtin University has been researching Lupine seeds to regulate blood sugar levels. The research has shown that an extract of the seed could be used to stimulate insulin secretion in cells. Professor Philip Newsholme, leader of the research team said, “Although the research is in its early stages, Lupine extract could be put into a drink or yoghurt-based product which would be taken just before a meal. This would lower the peak blood glucose levels which occur after a normal meal and it is this peak in blood glucose is particularly dangerous to people with pre-diabetes or diabetes.”

Heart Health

Lupine protein extracts have been shown to reduce the development of atherosclerotic plaques in coronary blood vessels and have been shown to correct vascular endothelium dysfunction. This helps to relax the blood vessels which in turn will help to lower high blood pressure (hypertension), which is known to contribute to heart attacks and strokes.

Lupine beans are also high in many heart-healthy minerals such as magnesium, potassium and iron and antioxidants that protect the heart from damage.

Pregnancy Health

Lupine beans are extremely rich in folate, a critical nutrient for pregnancy health. It is recommended that women consume at least 600 mcg of this important nutrient during pregnancy. Folate is necessary to the production of new DNA, which is needed for the production of new cells. The growing life within the womb engages in constant cell division and the mother must expand her blood supply with the production of new red blood cells – activities which demand a generous supply of folate.  Just one serving of Lupine provides 360 mcg of folate, plus high-quality plant protein and fibre, B vitamins and many minerals that all contribute to a healthy baby.

Typical Use

Lupine Protein Powder

Can be added to water, fruit juice, milk, smoothie or protein shake. Great protein boost before and after a workout.

Folklore and History

Lupine was cultivated as food by the Romans who spread them across the Roman Empire, and many other ancient civilisations. Pliny the Elder, Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher, said, "'No kind of fodder is more wholesome and light of digestion than the White Lupine, when eaten dry. If taken commonly at meals, it will contribute a fresh colour and a cheerful countenance."

In North and South America native tribes ate Lupine beans as a nutrient rich food. They would first soak them them in salt water to make them edible. The Andean Lupine or tarwi (Lupinus mutabilis) was a widespread food in the Incan Empire.

In Northern Europe the Lupine was introduced as a means of improving soil quality, and by the 1860s, the garden yellow lupin was seen across the sandy soils of the Baltic coastal plain. According to the herbalist Culpeper, "The seeds, somewhat bitter in taste, opening and cleansing, are good to destroy worms. Outwardly they are used against deformities of the skin, scabby ulcers, scald heads, and other cutaneous distempers."

Lupine
Precautions

Lupine is a plant in the peanut family. Do not use if you have a peanut allergy.