Home Healthy Eating Lupine: The vegetable protein source is so healthy!

Lupine: The vegetable protein source is so healthy!

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 153 views

Low in fat, rich in minerals and sustainable: lupins are considered a local superfood. Because of their high protein content, they are also an important source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Read here which lupine products are available and why they are so healthy.

What are lupins?

Lupins belong to the legumes and to the plant family of peas and beans. They are also known as lupine beans, wolf beans or fig beans. They have been cultivated in the Mediterranean region for more than 3,000 years. They serve as animal feed or as food for humans.

In Germany, they have been specifically bred since the 20th century in particular – particularly often on the sandy soils in the north and east of the republic. Lupine cultivation offers many advantages for agriculture:

  • The roots fix nitrogen.
  • The plants loosen and regenerate the soil.
  • Lupins fertilize themselves due to the high nitrogen production. No artificial means are necessary.


There are more than 300 different species of lupine worldwide. They can be divided into two groups: sweet and bitter lupins.

Bitter lupins include wild lupins, which grow on roadsides, among other places, and garden lupins. They contain a poisonous bitter substance (alkaloid) that can lead to tachycardia, dizziness and respiratory paralysis.

Only the seeds of the so-called sweet lupins are edible. With them, the bitter substance is deliberately bred out. Three main types of sweet lupine are grown in Central Europe:

  • the white lupine
  • the yellow lupine
  • the blue lupine (narrow-leaved)

The cultivated sweet lupins have been enjoying increasing popularity in the food industry for several years because gluten-free flour, milk, coffee and vegan meat substitutes can be made from their seeds.

Lupins are considered a superfood because they contain many valuable ingredients such as protein , vitamins and minerals .


Despite their name, the seeds do not taste sweet at all. Rather, lupine flour has a slightly nutty taste. Meat substitutes that are made with it taste very different depending on the type of preparation and seasoning.

nutritional values

Lupins contain a lot of protein, few fats and are free of cholesterol and gluten. Lupine products are therefore suitable for people with gluten intolerance (celiac disease). Lupine seeds are also rich in calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 100 grams contain 371 calories.

We have an overview of the most valuable nutrients for you:


Lupine seeds are an important source of protein. Their content is around 41 grams per 100 grams and is comparable to the protein content of soybeans. Lupine protein contains all valuable essential amino acids.


Lupine convince with their low fat content. The proportion is only 6.9 grams per 100 grams. In addition, the legume is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.


There are numerous vitamins in lupine seeds. This includes:

  • Vitamin A : It is important for the eyes and skin as well as for the bones and teeth, among other things.
  • Vitamin B1 : It is essential for many metabolic processes, especially those related to the breakdown of carbohydrates. Vitamin B1 must be ingested regularly with food because the body only stores very small amounts of it.
  • Vitamin E : It has an antioxidant effect. This means: It defuses “free radicals. These are aggressive oxygen compounds that are produced in the course of normal metabolic reactions in the body as well as from UV radiation, environmental pollution and cigarette smoke.


The dietary fiber content of 100 grams of lupine flour is 41.5 grams. They are absolutely necessary for the human organism. Among other things, they support digestion and help prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Lupine as an important source of protein in a vegan diet

Since vegans and vegetarians lack animal protein intake, an alternative source is important. Lupins are well suited to meet the need. They have a high protein content and offer many important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals in a plant-based diet. Various meat substitutes such as patties and steaks can be made from lupine seeds.

But that’s not all: If you don’t want to drink cow’s milk for health or ethical reasons, you can also use the native plant. Lupine milk can be pressed from lupine seeds. It is vegan and rich in calcium.

Which lupine products are there?

How to prepare and eat lupine seeds? The answer to that is multifaceted. Meat substitutes, flour, coffee, ice cream and plant-based yoghurt, for example, are made from lupine seeds. Pickled lupine seeds are also suitable as a soup ingredient or as a topping for salads.

Note: Lupins are inedible raw. In this state, they contain lectins that may attach themselves to the intestinal wall and damage it. You should therefore only consume lupins when they have already been processed and heated. This has already happened with lupine flour.

We present the lupine products to you in more detail.

Meat and milk substitutes

Lupins can be processed into meat substitutes. Compared to soy, they are certainly GMO-free and more sustainable because they are also grown in Germany and therefore have short transport routes.

For example, lupine tofu is made from lupine seeds. As with traditional tofu made from soy, the protein-rich seeds are soaked and pressed during the production of this meat substitute and the lupine milk obtained from them is coagulated. This lupine tofu is used to produce sausages, burgers and schnitzel, among other things.

Find out more about meat substitutes here .

Vegan lupine milk is also processed into vegan substitute products. Among other things, they are used to make yoghurt, pudding, spreads, flakes or ice cream. Lupine drinks can also be found on supermarket shelves.


Lupine flour or lupine meal is also obtained from lupine seeds. It is yellow, tastes slightly nutty and is suitable for baking bread and pastries. Since it has a high protein content, it is also referred to as low-carb flour.

In conventional recipes, it is possible to replace about a fifth of the original amount of flour with lupine flour. This does not change the taste. Rather, the consistency improves and the shelf life is extended.

Lupine flour does not contain any gluten. It is therefore well suited for people with gluten intolerance.


Coffee-like powder is also obtained from lupine seeds. The seeds are first dried, then roasted and ground for a long time. Lupine coffee contains no caffeine and has a harmonious taste.

How healthy are lupins?

Overall, there are currently only a few studies on the health effects of lupins. However, since the plants contain many important nutrients, some statements can be made. Among other things, it was shown that they lower blood pressure and improve blood lipids and insulin sensitivity. They also change the gut microbiome favorably.

Lupine flour also contains very little purine. This is beneficial because uric acid is produced when purine is broken down in the body. If there is too much of it, the uric acid level in the blood rises. Under certain circumstances, this leads to deposits in the joints and triggers diseases such as gout or kidney stones.

Below are some of the health benefits of lupine.

Prevention of digestive problems

Because the fiber content of lupins is high, consumption promotes gut health and helps with constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and other disorders related to the digestive system.

Positive for heart health

Due to the low fat content and the simple and polyunsaturated fatty acids, lupine has a positive effect on heart health.

They also contain polyphenols. The secondary plant substances probably protect against heart disease and prevent strokes.

According to a study on animals, protein extracts from lupins reduce the development of cardiovascular diseases. They also lower risk factors such as high blood sugar and cholesterol levels and high blood pressure .

anticancer effect

Phytochemicals may also protect against cancer. In one study, for example, there was evidence that lupine seeds reduce the risk of colon cancer due to their high fiber content.

Lupins also contain so-called phytoestrogens. Studies have shown that they protect against breast and prostate cancer.

Beneficial for the skin

The antioxidants found in lupine seeds help fight the harmful free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin and lead to premature skin aging. The vitamins and minerals contained in the seeds also strengthen the skin.

strengthen bones and teeth

Maintaining bone health is important to avoid problems like osteoporosis. Calcium and phosphorus found in lupine seeds strengthen both bones and teeth.

Lupine and allergy risk

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), certain proteins in lupins are allergenic. There have already been cross-reactions with allergens from soybeans, peanuts, green beans and peas. The consequences: skin reactions, breathing problems, cramps or life-threatening allergic hypersensitivity (anaphylactic shock).

According to the BfR, lupine products such as lupine flour can become a problem if they are added to foods in very small quantities – such as pizza or gingerbread. This is often the case with gluten-free substitutes.

There is now a labeling requirement for lupine protein.

Do lupins help you lose weight?

Low in fat and high in protein: the nutrient composition of lupins is ideal for people who want to lose weight. The high fiber content in particular is filling and helps keep calorie intake low throughout the day.

In order to lose weight permanently and healthily, regular exercise is important in addition to a balanced diet.

That’s how sustainable lupins are

In contrast to soy, lupins are often planted in Germany. The delivery routes are therefore short. In addition, the plants enrich agriculture in various ways, since they improve the soil, make mineral fertilizers superfluous and extend the temporal succession of crops (crop rotation).

If you want to eat sustainably, it is therefore better to use lupine than soy products.

Lupine: You should pay attention to that!

  • Do not eat raw lupine seeds.
  • If you buy raw lupine seeds, soak them in water for at least eight hours . Then boil them in water for about an hour until they are soft.
  • Note that wild lupins are not edible because of the bitter substances.
  • If you have a peanut allergy, be wary of products containing lupine.

Where can you buy lupine?

Lupine and products made with it are mainly available in health and organic shops as well as in larger supermarkets. Groceries containing lupine seeds are now also available in drugstores. You can also buy lupine products in online shops.

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