So, what are pulses? Pulses are part of the legume family; they are the dried seed of the legume plants. Pulses are superfoods that come in many shapes, sizes, and colours such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans to name a few. Also, they are a great addition to a vegan menu. There are many pulse recipes linked at the bottom of this article.
They are full of so many health benefits and are environmentally friendly too.
6 Health Benefits of Pulses
1. Filled with Good Protein
Wondering how to replace meat in your menu, add beans or lentils. They are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as brown rice or millet they provide a complete source of protein without saturated fat. Beans have the highest protein content of all plant foods.
- Pulses provide about 10% of the total food protein consumed in the world and have about twice the protein content of most grains. Learn more about: Protein Quality of Cooked Pulses.
2. Improves Glycemic Index for diabetics
It was found in a study that adding beans and whole grains in the diet of diabetics there was an improvement in their glycemic index. Also, in another study, it was found that whole grain and legume powder reduced the need for insulin in patients with coronary artery disease. Many Canadian dietitians recommend eating beans to individuals with diabetes.
3. Helps with Weight Loss
Consumers of beans had healthier nutrient consumption levels, were less overweight and had 22% reduced the risk of being obese and lower compared to non-consumers in a survey between 1999 – 2002.
Also, it was found that one serving of beans per day helped with weight loss in clinical trials with 940 participants at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto.
4. Lowers Risk of Heart Attack
Pulses are a heart-healthy food according to Pulse Canada. Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Follow-up study indicate that men and women who consumed legumes 4 or more times per week had a 22% reduction in heart disease risk, compared with those who consumed legumes less than once a week.
In a 25 year study with 16,000 middle-aged men in a number of countries, it was found that those who ate more legumes had 82% reduced the risk of heart attack.
5. Helps Reduce Risk of Cancer Especially of Colon Cancer
Several cancers including the upper digestive tract, stomach, colon, rectum, and kidneys were found to decrease with higher consumption of beans and lentils according to a Study in Uruguay between 1996 and 2004.
In three other studies with 101,856 participants, it was found that higher consumption of legumes reduced the risk of colorectal adenoma.
6. Full of Healthy Fiber
Pulses are a food high in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber binds with bile (which contains cholesterol) in the digestive tract carrying it out of the body. A diet with fiber helps with lowering body weight according to research. Blood sugar levels can be stabilized with a high fiber diet according to research.
“pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are a critical source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people around the globe, as well as a source of plant-based protein for animals”~ United Nations International Year of Pulses.
Why Is It Good to Include Pulses in Our Diet?
- They are high in protein – 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of cooked beans is equivalent to eating two ounces of lean protein. The guidelines recommend that most adults eat about 5 1/2 ounces of lean meat a day.
- Lots of fibre – ½ cup serving of cooked dry beans has 4 to 10 grams of fibre.
- Rich in complex carbohydrates.
- Contain iron, zinc, calcium, selenium and folate.
- Rich in antioxidants.
- Low in fat.
- Provide a low glycemic index.
Learn How To Avoid Gas from Beans before you add the pulses to your meals.
A Few Recipes to Help You Eat Pulses Every Week:
Black Bean Soup is Really Good For You On a Cold Day – This black bean soup is so tasty and nutritious. It is warming on a cold fall or winter day. It is easy to make and filled with nutritious superfood ingredients. Black beans are my favourite bean. Let’s not forget that this stew is full of protein which is from the beans.
Red Lentil Soup Recipe Is Healthy and Delicious – This red lentil soup is so easy to make and is filled with healthy superfoods. You will be amazed by the great taste and how easy it is to make. It’s truly unique!
Authentic Middle Eastern Hummus – Try this creamy traditional Middle Eastern Hummus dip; it is a blend of garbanzo beans, garlic, olive oil, and tahini. A great dip for a party or picnic. Who doesn’t enjoy delicious hummus? The other great thing about this dip is that it is dairy-free and gluten-free too.
Creamy Chickpea and Rice Pie – This chickpea pie is a very tasty meal which does take a little extra time to prepare but it is worth it. The great news is that it is dairy-free meaning it is vegan and gluten-free too!
Adzuki Vegetable Bean Stew – This is a simple recipe with one of the easiest to digest beans; adzuki beans. I love Adzuki beans and this tasty stew is filling and delicious.
White Bean and Asparagus Stew – I created this White Bean and Asparagus Stew recipe out for the first time on two dinner guests. Good news is that they loved it and wanted the recipe. It is very tasty.
Creamy Butter Bean Dip – This butter bean dip is a very tasty, healthy and vegan. The creamy texture makes it good for as a dip. Also, very easy to make.
Delicious Black Bean Stew – This stew is easy to make and filled with nutritious ingredients.
White Bean Vegetable Stew – How about a very yummy, healthy protein meal filled with vegetables. This stew is high in potassium for those of you who need a boost in that area. Also, half a cup of white beans is loaded with close to 100 mg of calcium.
Lentil Stew – Lentil soup has all the benefits of the mighty superfood lentils plus much more. And it tastes great.
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegetarian foods you will always want to have in your pantry or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Have in Your Diet and learn more about the variety of Superfoods we think you should have in your diet.