Lupin Who? The Newest Health Food Craze
By Melissa Fine, Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen the emergence of a new health food, but now we have ‘Lupin’. Here’s the lowdown on why this newbie is one worth trying.
What is it?
Lupin (pronounced ‘loo-pin’) is a member of the legume family, so is related to lentils, soybeans and peas. There are 12 lupin species, one being the tastier, narrow-leafed Sweet Lupin (Lupinus angustofolius), cultivated in Western Australia. Australia is actually the largest lupin producer worldwide – We produce one million tonnes annually!
How come I’ve never heard of lupin until now?
Lupin Foods Australia explains, “While the European white Lupin (L. albus) has been used as a human food since the time of the ancient Egyptians, it was during the 1960s that Australian scientists domesticated L. angustifolius to create the Australian Sweet Lupin of today”. At first, this was only used as animal feed, but in 1987, Food Standards Australia New Zealand declared it “fit for human consumption”. Although lupin was used in several food products like pasta and bread thereafter, Lupin Foods says it is considered an emerging ‘Superfood’ product in the Australian food industry.
But perhaps for not much longer; The impressive nutritional profile of this legume is beginning to gain more attention, particularly in the health food world.
Why We Love Lupin:
- Other legumes and grains have a high carbohydrate content, but lupin is low in carbs; 100 g lupin flakes contain just 3.5 g carbs, versus 74.5 g of carbs in white flour.
- It’s surprisingly high in protein, comprising 40% protein – almost 4 x the amount of protein that you get in whole wheat.
- Lupin is high in fibre, the lupin kernel being made up of 37% fibre; Alongside alleviating constipation, fibre helps fill you up and stabilise blood sugar levels; This, along with lupin’s low GI can be beneficial if you feel like you’re always hungry or if you’re trying to lose some excess weight.
- It’s gluten free! And a far nutritionally superior substitute to other gluten free flours on the market, like highly refined potato starch found.
- Lupin Foods Australia won the Best New Environmentally Sustainable Initiative Award at the Gulfood Awards 2014. Says Lupin Foods, “Lupins are a valuable component of Western Australian farming systems, providing a key element in crop rotations; assisting soil aeration and injecting it with nitrogen which creates a better environment for growth and the survival of other plants.”
What can I do with it?
- Replace 20% of regular flour with golden-yellow lupin flakes the next time you bake bread; This will significantly reduce the kilojoule content of your bread and improve its nutritional value, for instance increasing its protein content by more than double!
- Add 2 Tablespoons lupin flakes to 1 Cup oats (or gluten free porridge) before cooking for ‘Porridge with a Protein Punch’
- Make falafel or vegie burgers – Check out Lupin Foods Australia’s website for some great recipes
- Make these Protein Balls!
To find out more about this amazing super food go to: www.lupinfoods.com.au