World Pulses Day falls on Feb 10th, let us celebrate the tiny but mighty, highly nutritious and simplest solution to the global ecological crisis of our age.
Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family, including beans, lentils, and peas.
Can these humble beans/peas be our perfect food? How could we find more ways to incorporate these 'perfect foods' into our daily diet?
Not only are pulses a superfood, they are also incredible for the planet. Due to their nitrogen-fixing properties, they improve soil fertility and reduce the dependence on energy-intensive synthetic fertilisers, thus improving the overall health and productivity of the farmland in the long run.
Compared to other sources of protein, pulses also contribute significantly less to greenhouse gas emissions – large-scale use of pulses release 90% less harmful emissions than some animal proteins, due to their far lesser dependence on synthetic fertilisers.
Pulses are also a water efficient crop! The water footprint per gram of protein for milk, eggs and chicken is nearly 1.5 times higher than that of pulses. Beef is a whopping 6 times higher! In fact, studies show that replacing just half of all animal products with an equivalent amount of nutritious crops like pulses or vegetables could reduce the water footprint of food production by up to 30%. This is due to their unique rooting system that allows them to use shallow soil water for their own growth, while sparing deeper soil water for other crops.
This is a common misconception, but soybeans are not a pulse as their seed is not dry, containing high amounts of oil. While they’re healthy, they are not as nutritious as edible beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas.
Pulses are versatile, you can enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert recipes! They’re such a game changer when it comes to salads, soups, curries, side dishes, breads and cakes, and you can find them in a variety of different cuisines from Mexican, Mediterranean, Indian, Egyptian and more.
What makes pulses so special ?
- According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, pulses are considered vegetables and protein. They have a similar nutrient profile to other protein groups (which additionally provide iron and zinc) and vegetables (providing folate and potassium.)
- Pulses are great when you are looking to lose some weight as they provide satiety and are high in fibre.
- Pulses are beneficial for people suffering from diabetes type 2. Pulses have a low glycemic index, which means that blood sugar levels rise very slowly after eating them.
- They can reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases as they are cholesterol free. Studies (https://www.utoronto.ca/news/lowering-cholesterol-eating-chickpeas-lentils-beans-and-peas) shows that daily consumption of a serving of pulses lowers the concentration of so-called bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein- LDL) by 5%. This is important as high levels of LDL significantly raise your risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Pulses are superfoods that are affordable, easily available and nutrient dense. Unfortunately, they are still not popular in some cultures and cuisines.
There are a lot of products on the market which can help you to achieve a higher intake of pulses. Pea protein and products derived from it are great example – they contain precious proteins and fibre, but don’t cause the associated bloating or gas. And just like pulses, these products are very versatile.
HerbYvore Plant Protein Block could be a great way to begin or develop your journey to enjoy more pulses in your diet! It's high in protein and calcium, and contains dietary fibre, and acts as an effective binding agent in many plant-based recipes across cuisines. Take this meatless meatball recipe by Healthy with Ania for example, it's made with only 5 ingredients including our Protein Block!
Article originally posted by: Healthy with Ania