Legumes are one of the most important plant-based food-groups for supporting health, reducing risk of heart disease and promoting longevity.
Examples of legumes include beans(adzuki beans, black beans, garbanzo beans(chickpeas), soy beans, fava beans and kidney beans), lentils, peas and peanuts.
Legumes are typically excellent plant-based sources of protein, low-glycemic index carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals and even contain a small amount of fat.
Much evidence supports the health benefits of consuming a plant-based diet and increasing the intake of legumes. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans), nuts, and seeds is linked to significantly lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. 
Legumes such as beans are great sources of the vitamin folate and fiber, two very important nutrients for supporting cardiovascular health. Individuals following a typical Western diet pattern are often at risk of inadequate folate and fiber intake, part of the reason for this is the lack of plant-based foods such as beans and legumes in the diet.
Many individuals don’t even hit the recommended three portions of beans/legumes weekly, let alone the target of a cup daily in order to obtain the optimal health benefits that come with higher legume consumption.
Diets such as Paleo purposely eliminate and restrict dietary intake of legumes and beans, but personally I see no valid reason for healthy individuals to do this. Beans and legumes are an excellent food-group as discussed and play a proven role in the health benefits of plant-based diets such as the Mediterranean diet.
Another benefit of legumes such as beans and lentils is that they are fairly cheap foods to purchase also and are excellent low-cost foods for “bulking” out the diet from a financial perspective.
Let’s take a look at the research below which found that legumes are one of the most important dietary predictors of survival in the elderly.
Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities.
The “Food Habits in Later Life “(FHILL) study was undertaken among five cohorts in Japan, Sweden, Greece and Australia.
Between 1988 and 1991, baseline data on food intakes were collected. There were 785 participants aged 70 and over that were followed up to seven years.
The study found that legumes were the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities.
Based on an alternative Cox Proportional Hazard model adjusted to age at enrollment (in 5-year intervals), gender and smoking, the legume food group showed 7-8% reduction in mortality hazard ratio for every 20g increase in daily intake with or without controlling for ethnicity (RR 0.92; 95% CI 0.85-0.99 and RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.87-0.99, respectively).
Other food groups were not found to be consistently significant in predicting survival amongst the FHILL cohorts. 
 Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake
 Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities.
The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.