By Medifit Biologicals

 

 

PULSES

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Pulses are also know and often referred to as ‘legumes’.  Pulse is the term for the edible seeds of legumes (plants with a pod), which includes dry peas, lentils, dry beans, and chickpeas. Pulses do not include fresh fresh green beans or peas.  Although they are related to pulses because they are also the edible seeds of podded plants, soy beans and peanuts differ from pulses because they have a much higher fat content, whereas pulses contain virtually no fat.

 

WHAT IS A PULSE?

Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fibre, and are low in fat. Like their cousins in the legume family, pulses are nitrogen-fixing crops that improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems.

Pulses are a great tasting addition to any diet. They are rich in fibre and protein, and have high levels of minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorous as well as folate and other B-vitamins. In addition to their nutritional profile and links to improved health, pulses are unique foods in their ability to reduce the environmental footprint of our grocery carts. Put it all together and these sensational seeds are a powerful food ingredient that can be used to deliver the results of healthy people and a healthy planet.

Pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and can be consumed in many forms including whole or split, ground in to flours or separated into fractions such as protein, fibre and starch.

Pulses do not include fresh beans or peas. Although they are related to pulses because they are also edible seeds of podded plants, soybeans and peanuts differ because they have a much higher fat content, whereas pulses contain virtually no fat.

 

 

ABSTRACT

Pulses (beans, peas, and lentils) have been consumed for at least 10 000 years and are among the most extensively used foods in the world. A wide variety of pulses can be grown globally, making them important both economically as well as nutritionally. Pulses provide protein and fibre, as well as a significant source of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc, folate, and magnesium, and consuming half a cup of beans or peas per day can enhance diet quality by increasing intakes of these nutrients. In addition, the phytochemicals, saponins, and tannins found in pulses possess antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic effects, indicating that pulses may have significant anti-cancer effects. Pulse consumption also improves serum lipid profiles and positively affects several other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as blood pressure, platelet activity, and inflammation. Pulses are high in fibre and have a low glycemic index, making them particularly beneficial to people with diabetes by assisting in maintaining healthy blood glucose and insulin levels. Emerging research examining the effect of pulse components on HIV and consumption patterns with aging populations indicates that pulses may have further effects on health. In conclusion, including pulses in the diet is a healthy way to meet dietary recommendations and is associated with reduced risk of several chronic diseases. Long-term randomized controlled trials are needed to demonstrate the direct effects of pulses on these diseases.

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PULSES IN YOUR DIET

Pulses include beans, lentils and peas. They are a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and they count towards your recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

A pulse is an edible seed that grows in a pod. Pulses include all beans, peas and lentils, such as:

  • baked beans
  • red, green, yellow and brown lentils
  • chickpeas (chana or garbanzo beans)
  • garden peas
  • black-eyed peas
  • runner beans
  • broad beans (fava beans)
  • kidney beans, butter beans (Lima beans), haricots, cannellini beans, flageolet beans, pinto beans and borlotti beans

 

WHY EAT PULSES?

Pulses are a great source of protein.

This means they can be particularly important for people who do not get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products.

However, pulses can also be a healthy choice for meat-eaters. You can add pulses to soups, casseroles and meat sauces to add extra texture and flavour. This means you can use less meat, which makes the dish lower in fat and cheaper.

Pulses are a good source of iron.

Pulses are also a starchy food and add fibre to your meal. Eating a diet high in fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Pulses are often bought in tins. If you buy tinned pulses, check the label and try to choose ones that have no added salt or sugar.

 

PULSES AND 5 A DAY

It’s recommended we get at least five daily portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables, and pulses count towards your 5 A Day.

One portion is 80g, which is equivalent to around three heaped tablespoons of cooked pulses.

However, if you eat more than three heaped tablespoons of beans and pulses in a day, this still only counts as one portion of your 5 A DAY. This is because while pulses contain fibre, they don’t give the same mixture of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as fruit and vegetables.

This excludes green beans, such as broad beans and runner beans, which are counted as a vegetable and not a bean or pulse for 5 A DAY.

 

DON’T LET FLATULENCE PUT YOU OFF PULSES

Baked beans are renowned for their effect on the bowels. This is because beans contain undigestible carbohydrates. Soaking and rinsing dry beans before cooking, as well as rinsing canned beans in water, can help to reduce these hard to digest carbohydrates.

You shouldn’t let a bit of wind put you off eating pulses. People react differently to certain foods and may find that symptoms subside, especially if you increase your intake gradually.

 

COOKING AND STORING PULSES SAFELY

Typically, pulses are bought either tinned or dried.

Tinned pulses have already been soaked and cooked, so you only need to heat them up or add them straight to salads if you’re using them cold.

Dried pulses need to be soaked and cooked before they can be eaten.

Dried kidney beans and soya beans contain toxins, so it is important to ensure they have been cooked properly before you eat them.

Cooking times vary depending on the type of pulse and how old they are, so follow the instructions on the packet or a recipe.

 

COOKING KIDNEY BEANS SAFELY

Kidney beans contain a natural toxin called lectin. This can cause stomach aches and vomiting. The toxin is destroyed by proper cooking.

Tinned kidney beans have already been cooked, so you can use them straight away.

When using dried kidney beans, follow these three steps to destroy the toxins:

  • soak the dried beans in water for at least 12 hours
  • drain and rinse the beans, then cover them with fresh water
  • boil them vigorously for at least 10 minutes, then simmer the beans for around 45-60 minutes to make them tender

 

COOKING SOYA BEANS SAFELY

Soya beans contain a natural toxin called a trypsin inhibitor. This can stop you digesting food properly. The toxin is destroyed by proper cooking.

Tinned soya beans have already been cooked, so you can use them straight away.

When using dried soya beans, follow these three steps to destroy the toxins:

  • soak the dried beans in water for at least 12 hours
  • drain and rinse the beans, then cover them with fresh water
  • boil them vigorously for one hour, then simmer the beans for about two to three hours to make them tender

 

STORING COOKED PULSES

If you cook pulses and you aren’t going to eat them immediately, cool them as quickly as possible and then put them in the fridge or freeze them.

As with all cooked foods, don’t leave cooked pulses at room temperature for more than an hour or two because this allows bacteria to multiply.

If you keep cooked pulses in the fridge, eat them within two days.

It should be safe to keep pulses frozen for a long time, as long as they stay frozen. However, keeping food frozen for too long can affect its taste and texture. Follow the freezer manufacturer’s instructions on how long types of food can be kept frozen.

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF PULSES

Pulses are part of the food grain family known as legumes and include foods such as chickpeas, peas, lentils, beans and peanuts. Pulses are an important source of nutrition throughout the world but are not a common component of the typical Western diet, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Pulses are a good source of protein, fiber and essential nutrients, making them a healthy addition to your diet.

 

GOOD FOR YOUR HEART

Including more pulses in your diet may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Pulses are high in fiber. For example, a 1 cup serving of cooked lentils contains more than 15 g of fiber, meeting 60 percent of your daily value. The fiber in the pulses may improve heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. Pulses also are high in potassium. Including more potassium-rich foods in your diet can lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium.

 

LOWER RISK OF DIABETES

Pulses are a low-glycemic index food. The glycemic index ranks food on how it affects your blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index cause only a small rise in blood sugar, while foods with a high glycemic index cause a spike in blood sugar. People who include more low-glycemic foods in their diet have lower rates of diabetes. And if you already have diabetes, including pulses in your diet can make it easier for you to manage your blood sugar.

 

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HIGH IN PROTEIN

Pulses also make a healthy and inexpensive source of protein. Most pulses do not provide all of the essential amino acids, making them an incomplete source of protein. But if you include other grains and vegetables in your diet, you should be able to meet all of your amino acid needs. Soy beans, however, are one of only a few plant foods that provide all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein like meat. A 1 cup serving of cooked soybeans contains 26 g of protein, while a 3 oz. portion of cooked chicken contains 24 g of protein.

 

 

By Medifit Biologicals

www.medifitbiologicals.com