Vitamins

Most food legumes are good sources of thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin but are poor sources of ascorbic acid. This vitamin is present at only low levels in newly harvested dry seeds, and it disappears after long storage. In some species, varieties exist that produce green- or orange-colored cotyledons, and ^-carotene, a pro-vitamin A carotenoid, can be found in some cases. The amounts of this vitamin precursor, however, are generally quite low. Toco-pherols (vitamin E) are also found in some legume seeds, and folate, which is present in all legumes, can be quite high in certain species (e.g., lentil). Because folate is important in the prevention of neural tube defects, legume consumption is recommended for women of childbearing age, especially in regions of the world where folate fortification is limited.

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