The United Nations has claimed that 2016 is the year of the pulses. And I am not talking about your heart beat but the kind you eat. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines pulses as “a subgroup of legumes, are plant species members of the Leguminosae family (commonly known as the pea family) that produce edible seeds which are used for human and animal consumption. Some examples of pulses include dried grain legumes like kidney beans, navy beans, fava beans, chickpeas, dried or split peas, mung beans, black-eyed peas, and several varieties of lentils.
So what’s so special about pulses? Well, pulses are actually a very nutritious. They are packed with a variety of nutrients and are a great source of protein. Pulses have a low fat content and contain zero cholesterol. Additionally, pulses are rich in minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc) and B-vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and folate) all of which play a vital role in health. Additionally, they also fit into vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets.
Pulses are becoming well known because they are not only nutritious, but they can help play an important role in addressing food security and also fostering sustainable agriculture. Pulses are dried seeds and can be stored for long periods of time without losing nutritional value which is ideal for nutrition but also with transportation of the product.
I enjoy incorporating pulses on my salads or sprouting them. But honestly, they are super easy to work with. You can make stews, soups, entrees, add them to salads. Clearly they are very versatile, and I encourage you to incorporate them into your diet.