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What is Lupin?

By GMB Doctor Sandy Krafchik

What is lupin

Lupin is a legume that originates from the same plant family as peanuts. Lupin beans are used as a traditional food in Mediterranean cuisine. They can be eaten raw (after being soaked in salt water for 2–3 hours to smooth the flavour) and are used to make lupin flour and lupin protein isolate. These ingredients are used in baked goods and pasta dishes. Just a heads up if you’re allergic to peanuts, you may also be allergic to lupin.

How to use lupin

Lupin (available as seeds/flour/flakes) is a very versatile food source and can be used in

  • Baking (breads/cakes/biscuits), confectionery, snacks

  • Pasta and pastry

  • High protein drinks

  • Lupin based fermented food

  • Savoury dishes – as a vegetarian meat substitute/protein-rich vegetable

  • Crumbing fish/meat/chicken/roast vegetables

  • Rice substitute

  • Ice cream, mayonnaise and dressings

  • Fillings and glazes

  • Sauces

  • Seeds can be used in salads/stir fries and for pickling

  • Roasted seeds can be used as a snack

Lupin has the lowest carbohydrate content of legumes and can be substituted for flour or oats in baking.

How do lupin flakes compare nutritionally

  • 3 x more dietary fibre than oats

  • 3 x more potassium than bananas

  • 3 x more protein than quinoa

  • 3 x more iron than kale

The Lupin Co also produces pre-mix packets that make delicious, healthy, protein rich snacking convenient and easy to prepare. They come in 2 different flavours

  • Super Lupin Protein Cookie Mix (cookies with cacao and almonds)
  • Super Lupin Protein Power Bars (bars with cranberries and coconut)

Simply add a few wet ingredients to the dry mix, combine and bake in the oven to create a wonderful nutritious snack.

Try either the Protein Cookies or Protein Power Bars in the August 'Baking Box'

Benefits of lupin

Lupin has the following properties

  • gluten free and non-GMO

  • easily digestible with high bio-availability of essential nutrients and minerals

  • contains less than 1% starch

  • low in fat (4-7%)

  • high in protein & fibre, cholesterol free and contains - negligible amounts of trypsin inhibitors (known to interfere with digestion)

Not only is lupin very versatile and delicious, it also has many health benefits - here are just some of them

Health benefits of lupin

  1. Improves bowel health - alleviates irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive conditions. The high fibre content makes them good prebiotics (i.e. the substances that feed good bacteria in the bowel). There is a direct link between healthy gut flora and the state of the immune system. Lupin has very small amounts of lectins and saponins (known gastric irritants),

  2. Relieves constipation - the high fibre content stimulates bowel function. Lupin has one of the highest sources of dietary fibre (37%).

  3. Rich in protein - Lupin is one of the highest sources of plant proteins available (40%). Lupin beans contain the amino acid arginine which lowers blood pressure, cholesterol & triglycerides, and lowers blood sugar levels.

  4. Lowers blood pressure - Lupin protein extracts have been shown to correct vascular endothelium dysfunction.

  5. Improves glucose metabolism (diabetes) - Reduce the glycaemic load of carbohydrate-based foods.

  6. Protects the heart - Lupin protein extracts have been shown to reduce the development of atherosclerotic plaques in coronary blood vessels. In addition, lupin reduces the following risk factors for heart disease: high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels

  7. Treat anaemia - lupin is rich in iron (needed to form haemoglobin) and vitamin C (which promotes the absorption of iron).

  8. Boosts skin health - The antioxidants in lupin fights harmful free radicals and prevents the early signs of aging. The vitamins and minerals in lupin nourishes the skin and makes it healthy and glowing.

  9. Boosts immunity - A healthy immune system is required to combat infections. Lupin beans contain all the essential minerals and vitamins (vitamin A, B complex, vitamin C) which strengthen immune system.

  10. Promotes healthy hair - The high protein content of lupin beans helps in the formation of healthy hair. It also makes the hair strong, thick and difficult to break. Lupin beans have all the required nutrients to promote healthy hair growth.

  11. Rich in the bio-active compounds - phyto-sterols (assists with lowering cholesterol) phytoestrogens (protect against cancer)

  12. Strengthens bones - Maintaining healthy bones is very important to avoid osteoporosis, fractures, etc. Lupin beans are rich in calcium and phosphorous which are essential for strong, healthy bones.

  13. Assists in weight loss - The high fibre content of lupin keeps you fuller for longer and supresses appetite. It is a low GI grain.

The versatility of, and the numerous health benefits associated with, lupin, makes it a great staple to add to your pantry.

Lupin and Allergenicity Frequently Asked Questions. 2018. Lupin and Allergenicity Frequently Asked Questions. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 July 2018].
Lupin Foods » Health Benefits. 2018. Lupin Foods » Health Benefits. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 August 2018].
Webarena - 2018. Lupins for Human Consumption. [ONLINE]  [Accessed 01 August 2018].
Lupin Bean facts and health benefits. 2018. Lupin Bean facts and health benefits. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 August 2018].

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