Botanical Description

Lupines are legumes (pea family) that are distributed worldwide. Despite the presence of alkaloids, which can be problematic both from the toxicity viewpoint as well as having an unpleasant taste, the lupine seeds have been used nutritionally, and, more recently, have been studied for their potential for replacement of conventional food crops such as soybeans. The historical use of lupine for food is well documented for the Mediterranean region, as well as in South America in the Andes highlands (Ballester et al., 1980). In the Mediterranean region, the lupine that has been used is Lupinus albus, which produces a large white seed that is about the size of a lima bean (1 cm in diameter, 0.4 mm). In Egypt, the seeds are soaked in water to extract the alkaloids, then toasted prior to sale in the marketplace. During the soaking process the seed coat can be removed, but, as the seed coat of the white lupine is thin, this need not be done. The seeds are typically ground to make flour for bread. The proteins of legumes are generally considered good sources of lysine, but are low in the sulfur-containing amino acids, making the protein availability low unless supplemented by sulfur-containing amino acids such as methionine (Ballester etal., 1980). By combining lupine flour with corn or other grains that are high in methionine, the nutritional value of lupine is greatly enhanced.

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Health And Fitness 101

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