Pulses are peas and beans from the Leguminosea family. Legumes or pulses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are literally thousands of different types. Common varieties include chickpeas, kidney beans, mung beans, lupins, navy beans (used in baked beans), lentils. 2016 is the International Year of Pulses. The United Nations has recognised the International Year of Pulses to increase public awareness on the unique nutritional benefits of eating more legumes as well as the role legumes can play in providing a sustainable, global food source.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines encourage us to eat a wider variety of foods. Legumes can be a valuable, non animal source of protein as well as a vegetable serve. Many Australians still do not eat enough vegetables. Dietitians recommend people eat legumes and pulses at least 2-3 times a week because of their wonderful health benefits:
- Low in fat
- High soluble and insoluble fibre which is great for a healthy digestive system
- Legumes can reduce cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease
- Low GI (glycaemic Index) and therefore can help control blood glucose levels
- Help manage weight
- Reduce risk of some cancers
Here are my top 5 insightful ideas to include more pulses in your diet:
- Serve baked beans on toast for breakfast
- Make a bean salad - 1 tin of drained 3 beans, mixed with 2-3 finely chopped shallots and a handful of baby spinach leaves. Mix in 1 tbsp French salad dressing and serve.
- Add a tin of kidney beans to your hamburger patties
- Make a red lentil and tomato soup for a weekend lunch.
- Add a tin of lentils to either mince bolgnaise sauce or lasagne