Legumes, broadly defined by their unusual flower structure, podded fruit, and the ability of 88% of the specials examined to date to form nodules with rihzobia (de Faira et al; 1989). They are second only to the graminiae in their importance to human. Legumes belongs to the family Leguminosae in the tropics, they are the next important food crop after cereal. (Uzoechina, 2009) They are sources of low-cost dietary vegetable proteins and minerals when compared with animal products such as meat, fish and egg (Apata and Ologhobo, 1997).
Indigenous Legumes therefore are an important source of affordable alterative protein to poor resource people in many tropical countries (Ihekoronye A.I and Ngoddy P.O 1985). Legumes have historically been part of expensive meals throughout the world as they have a major role in the fight against malnutrition. It is therefore necessary that their levels of consumption, which are already too low in a number of developing countries be increased (Borget, M. 1992). Legumes serves as a source of non-processed protein for rural and urban dwellers of the population especially in the poor countries of the world (Rachie, K.O and P. Silvestre, 1977) and as a good source of fibre, resistant starch, and other nutrients, they are one of the least glycemic sources of carbohydrates, because the starch is either slowly absorbed or resistant. Tropical developing countries are facing an increasing demand for protein- rich food due to teeming population, cereal based diet and scarcity of fertile land (Sadik, 1991, Weaaver, 1994). Legumes are an in expensive source of proteins with desirable characteristic such as abundance of carbohydrates, ability to lower the serum cholesterol, high fibre low fat (except oilseeds),. high concentration of poly unsaturated fatly acids and a long shelf life. In addition to B complex vitamins, minerals and fibre, Legumes are also major sources of proteins and calories (Rockland and Nishi, 1979). They are know to contain certain bioactve compounds whose beneficial effects need to be explored for exploitation. The global production of food Legumes in 1998 was 246 million tons (FAQ, 1998). Legumes are sources of carbohydrates, minerals, dietary fibres and water soluble vitamins which are important in human health.

The nutritive value of a diet depends on the proportion of nutrients digested (digestibility) and on the efficiency with which these digested nutrients are absorbed and utilized with in animal tissues, demonstrated that the high nutritive value of Legumes is probably due to increased protein absorption which results in a better balanced of absorbed nutrients. (Ulyatt and Macrae 1974) Bloat, which is mainly caused by the formation of a stable protein foam in the rumen, is still a major problem with cattle fed Legumes. It has been observed that bloat does not occur when certain Legumes such as lotus and sainfoin are fed to cattle. This has been correlated with the presence of a class of compounds known as condensed tanning in these Legumes (Jones and Lyttleton, 1971; Reid et al; 1974). Sodium is often low in Legumes. Indeed sodium deficiency can limit animals production from Lucerne in the central North Island (Joyce and Brunswick, 1975).
Although the nutritive characteristics of Legumes are good, they are often associated with animal disorders such as bloat (Reid, 1960, Gurnsey et at; 1977). The Ability of pasture Legumes to fix nitrogen and to produce large quantities of herbage is well known it is also generally recognized that the feeding value of Legumes is superior to that of most grasses and graminaceous forage. The best known example is the superior feeding value of white clover (Sinclair et at; 1956; Mclean et al; 1962).

Dietary fibre has been shown to have important health implications in the prevention of risks of chronic diseases such as cancer, CVD and diabetes mellitus. It comes from the family of carbohydrates, an NSP, not digested in the small intestine but may be fermented in the colon into SCFA such as acetate, propionate and butyrate. (Roberfroid M 1997). They enhance water absorption in the colon, and thus prevent constipation. Dietary fibre has the ability to bind with bile acids and prevents their reabsorption in the liver, and thus inhibit cholesterol synthesis (Chen WjL, Anderson JW and Jenkins DJA 1984). Dietary fibres viscous and fibrous structure can control the release of glucose with time in the blood, thus helping in the proper control and management of diabetes mellitus and obesity (Wolever TMS, et al . 1982 Creutzfeldt W 1983). LOW-GI foods, for example, high-dietary fibre foods, have been shown to reduce postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses and improve the overall blood glucose and lipid concentrations in normal subjects and patients with diabetes mellitus (Collier GR, Giudici S, Kalmusky J, et al; 1988, Wolever Tms, Jenkins DJA, Vuksan V, et al, 1992).

In addition to traditional food and forage uses, Legumes can be milled into flour, used to make bread, doughnuts, tortillas, chips, spreads and extruded snacks (R.Phillips personal communication) or used in liquid form to produce milks, Yogurt, and infant formula (Garcia et al; 1988). Pop beans (Popenoe et al, 1989, licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra; kindscher, 1992). and soybean candy (Genta et al, 2002) provide novel uses for specific Legumes.
Legumes have been used industrially to prepare biodegradable plastics (Paetau et al, 1994) oils, gums, dyes, and inks (morn, 1997). Many Legumes have been used in folk medicine (Duke, 1992; Kindscher, 1992). Isoflavones from soybeans and other Legumes have more recently been suggested both to red ice the risks of cancer and to lower serum cholesterol (Kennedy, 1995, Molteni et a, 1995). Soybean and soyfood phytoestrogens have been suggested as possible alternatives to hormone replacement therapy for postmenopausal women.

Dietary fibre has been recognized as a health component (Walker, 1998). It consists of a mixture of polymeric non-starch substances, which resist enzymatic digestion in the human gastrointestinal tract. Most of these substance are complex carbohydrates like cellulose, hemi-cellulose and pectin (Toberfroid, 1993) phendic compound, ligin also constitutes a small portion of dietary fibre (morenol and lopez, 1993). Health1) benefits associated with adequate intake of these substances include: lower blood cholesterol and sugar levels, reduced risks of constipation, obesity, diabetics, heart complications, colon and rectal cancer gallstone, piles and hernia (ADA, 1997). This health benefits reflects the nutritional significance of dietary fibre, and have attracted the consumer to fibre rich foods public health organisaton (WHO, 1986 and NRC, 1989). Also recommended an increase in the daily consumption of dietary fibre. For theses reasons, the determination of the dietary fibre content of food has been receiving much attention for the last few years (Engist et at; 1988, and Pallami et at 1992). A wide variety of food items have been analyzed for their total dietary fibre content (Lintas and Cappelloni, 1988, 1ongean et at 1989). Attention has focused on the dietary fibre content of Legumes (Shaarma, 1986 and vidal valverde et al, 1992) because of their effectiveness in lowering blood cholesterol, improving glucose tolerance and reducing insulin requirements (Anderson et al. 1984, Tappy et at, 1986 and Shutter et at 1989) Although the total dietary fibre (TDF) Content of certain Legumes has been measured, but I variations in the available data exist, these variations could be regional (soil and climatic) and genotypic.
However, methodological differences could not be ignored with the recent development of the novel enzymatic techniques (Prosky et al. 1988). For dietary fibre determination in foods, increasing interest has been diverted to the soluble and insoluble components (Hughes, 1991). Legumes cellulose and some hemi cellulose typically constitute the insoluble dietary fibre (IDF), where as pectin some hemi cellulose and other non-starch dietary fibre polysaccharides make up the soluble dietary fibre (SDF) (Roherfroid, 1993). Legumes seeds typically contain more dietary fibre than cereals and are better sources of metabolically active SDF (Hughes and Swanson, 1989) The present work was undertaken to assess the dietary fibre profit of grain Legumes commonly consumed in Pakistan, especially in the North-west frontier province (NWFO).
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