Difference between Beans and Legumes

Updated on February 13, 2017

Always eat your vegetables, right? Most people divide their foods into meats, dairy products, and fruits and vegetables. Yet is it no longer enough to eat whatever comes with the meat or fish on your plate to be healthy. And keeping fit is a completely different discussion. Therefore, it pays to know the difference between legumes and beans, for example. Keep reading to find out why.


Multiple varieties of beans

Beans are the mature fruit of the Fabaceae plant family and they are classified as legumes of the Phaseolus genus. Examples of beans are green beans, chickpeas, green lima beans, black-eyed peas, string beans, and peas. Most of them are kidney-shaped, oval, or disk-shaped and they grow in pods. They are full of carbohydrates and they are sources of fiber.

They are considered a staple food in most parts of the world as they are cheap and accessible. To cook beans, you must soak them then boil or stir-fry them. You can also buy them already cooked and canned. However, one thing bean consumption is known for is flatulence. This is caused by a type of sugar contained in all beans, one which is digested by bacteria in the human digestive tract, and not by enzymes. Gas is a by-product of this process.

Different colors and types of legumes

A legume is a pod-shaped, fruit-bearing plant of the Fabaceae family. Beans, clover, alfalfa, tamarind, peanuts, lentils, soybeans, and other such plants are legumes. They are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers. Legumes are superfoods because they are rich in nutrients and have no cholesterol-raising fat. Overall, legumes are a category of plants.

Beans vs Legumes

So what is the difference between beans and legumes? Beans are the fruit that grows inside pods, while legumes are pod-bearing plants that contain beans. Therefore, beans are legumes, and legumes are a category of plants.

Both are rich in fibers and in carbohydrates. Also, both are staple foods in many countries of the world. They are easy to grow, they are cheap, and they are easy to cook.

Comparison Chart

Are the seeds or the dried fruit of pod-bearing plantsAre pod-bearing plants
Are legumesRepresent a category of plants