The key difference between legumes and cereals is that legumes are the plants belonging to the bean family known as Fabaceae, while cereals are plants belonging to the grass family known as Poaceae.
Legumes and cereals are important seeds collecting plants from two different plant families. They are the two most important staple food due to the high demand for their nutritional content and global consumption. Legumes are rich in proteins and essential amino acids, with fewer carbohydrates. On the other hand, cereals are collected for their high carbohydrate content (starchy grains). Compared to other plant species, including legumes, cereals are the leading source of energy and are grown in larger quantities around the world.
What are Legumes?
Legumes are the plants belonging to the bean family Fabaceae. Their seeds are known as pulses and are collected for human consumption as they contain high proteins and essential amino acids. But they have a low content of carbohydrates. Legumes are grown agriculturally for human consumption, for livestock, forage, silage, and as soil-enhancing green manure. Pulses are the edible seeds of legume plants and include beans, peas, and lentils. The other well-known pulses include soybeans, chickpeas, peanuts, lupins, carob, tamarind, alfalfa, and clover.
Legumes are very good sources of proteins, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and dietary minerals. For example, a 100 gram cooked chickpeas serving size contains 18 % dietary value of protein, 9 % of carbohydrate, 4 % of fat, 30 % of dietary fiber, 43 % of folate, and 52 % of manganese. Moreover, legumes are also a good source of resistant starch that can be broken by bacteria in the large intestine to produce short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids can be used by intestinal cells for food energy. Furthermore, legumes are very notable as they have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules. Therefore, they play an important role in crop rotation as well.
What are Cereals?
Cereals are plants belonging to the grass family known as Poaceae. Cereals can be defined as any grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain, such as endosperm, germ, and bran. They are grown in large quantities in order to provide more food energy worldwide than any other crops. Therefore, cereals are the staple crops in the world. Normally cereals are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and proteins. However, when they are processed, they remove the bran and germ. Therefore, only the endosperm remains, which is mostly carbohydrates.
In developing countries, grains in the form of rice, wheat, millet, and maize are major constituents of people’s daily sustenance. But in developed countries, cereals are consumed in moderate quantities, in the form of refined and processed grains. Furthermore, one cup of cooked serving size of rice provides 16 % daily value of carbohydrates, 9 % daily value of protein, 1 % of fat, 1 % calcium, 10 % iron, 1 % potassium, and 25 % of sodium.
What are the Similarities Between Legumes and Cereals?
- Legumes and cereals are important seed-collecting plants from two different plant families.
- They are the two most important staple foods due to the high demand for their nutritional content and global consumption.
- People in developing countries and developed countries substantially depend on legumes and cereals.
- Both legumes and cereals provide carbohydrates and proteins to people.
- Both legumes and cereals help the daily sustenance of the people.
- They are grown widely throughout the world and in large quantities compared to other crops.
What is the Difference Between Legumes and Cereals?
Legumes are the plants belonging to the bean family known as Fabaceae, while cereals are plants belonging to the grass family known as Poaceae. Thus, this is the key difference between legumes and cereals. Furthermore, legumes have a high protein content and low carbohydrate content, while cereals have a high carbohydrate content and a low protein content.
The below infographic presents the differences between legumes and cereals in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Legumes vs Cereals
Legumes and cereals are the two most important staple foods due to the high demand for their nutritional content and global consumption. Legumes are the plants belonging to the bean family known as Fabaceae, while cereals are plants belonging to the grass family known as Poaceae. So, this summarizes the difference between legumes and cereals.