Lupine, good or bad for your health?

Lupine is a plant of the legume family and is similar to peanuts, peas, lentils and beans. It has well-developed roots that penetrate deep into the ground and helps to capture nitrogen from the air and synthesizes it into the ground. This is why it is considered a gold medal and serious hope for countries with low nitrogen because it adds value to acid soils where practically nothing grows.

There are over 450 species of lupins but only four are edible: white lupine, blue lupine and lupine narrow-leaf, yellow lupine and lupine changing.

Various lupine seeds are toxic in nature because they contain toxins called bitter alkaloid.

We know that the sweet lupine is the most edible and which replaced the flour and pasta in many Mediterranean countries and South America.

The seeds from some types of lupin can be used in foods such as seeded bread and can also be ground to make lupin flour, which is used sometimes in foods. You should know that lupine seeds are high in protein and have the full range of essential amino acids.

Lupine seed meal, meanwhile, has seen its use increase since the 1990s because of its nutritional and technological qualities.

It has very good emulsifying capacity and partially or totally replace the eggs for buns, cake or vegetable sauces mayonnaise. This is why it has been used for almost twenty years in pastries and biscuits.

You should know that the lupine is also a good substituent present in gluten-free products because it is completely free of gluten.

Another thing is that lupin seeds are being recognized as a cheaper alternative to soy, becoming a more popular replacement for soy in recipes and other products. 

However, it was found that it could be the origin of allergies especially food allergy which is an excessive immune response to a food due to the presence of  an antigen in this food.  An antigen is not a toxic substance. The major allergens of lupine species are storage proteins, conglutines. It was found that there are 2 ways that can cause some allergy.

By inhalation or ingestion lupine which can cause symptoms such as digestive disorders, rhinitis, eczema, hives, swelling of the lips, or even anaphylactic shock in severe cases and primary sensitization via peanuts. This is called cross-allergy. Therefore vigilance is required.

If you are allergic to lupine you should avoid it from your food.

Therefore, food labelling rules require pre-packed food sold in the European Union to show clearly on the label if it contains lupin.

In fact, lupins are the world’s richest natural source of protein about 40% and fibre about 37%. They are easily digestible, cholesterol free and are a convenient and healthy option suitable for those who are Coeliac or following a gluten-free diet.

For all its qualities and properties, lupine by the presence of its allergen remains to monitor especially for people with allergies to peanuts but it should also be given in the near future to the sweet lupine consumption because it still has a small amount of bitter alkaloid toxin which we do not yet know the effects on the body. It can have good effects for those who are not allergic but also it can provide bad effects even if you are not allergic to.

Sources : foodsmatter , whatallergy , justalittlepeanut , lupinfoods

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