Pulses have been at the heart of our diet and nutrition ever since the onset of agriculture in society all across the world. Packed with tons of nutrients, pulses are the cornerstone of all healthy and balanced diets.
On World Pulses Day, we look at the five most important reasons why pulses should be the most important part of your diet every day.
1. Complex Carbohydrates
Unlike sugar and other simple carbohydrates, pulses take longer to breakdown. Therefore, providing a slow release of carbohydrates and a low glycemic index. Pulses do not cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels making you feel energetic and full for a longer period of time
2. High Protein Content
While pulses are irreplaceable in a vegan/vegetarian diet, their high protein content makes them very important to a non-vegetarian diet as well. A diet rich in the amount as well as a variety of protein is essential for good health. Combining different plant sources always improves the protein quality of a dish, such as mixing pulses with cereals, dried fruits and seeds providing a higher nutritional value.
3. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Pulses are filled with lots of vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and iron which help boost immunity and metabolism. However, it is important to incorporate a variety of pulses in your diet since the mineral and vitamin content can vary across different types of pulses.
4. Low Fat and High Fibre
Pulses have a low content of fats, most of which is unsaturated and therefore very healthy for the heart. Further, the high fibre content of pulses is one of the best sources of dietary fibre and help to keep our digestive system healthy and active and help aid problems such as constipation.
5. Value for Money
Pulses are cheap and easily available. It’s a central part of the Indian diet and is found in most kitchens. The low cost of pulses will enable you to adjust costs for high quality ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil, low starch rice and organic produce which help boost health and wellbeing without stretching your budget.
Pulses may not be suitable for a person with irritable bowel syndrome.
Many beans and pulses contain lectins, which are proteins that are potentially toxic to humans. Soaking and boiling beans reduce the lectin content. People should boil beans for at least 10 minutes to ensure they are safe. Hot-soaking beans and discarding the water used for soaking, or sprouting, boiling, or cooking them may help reduce digestive symptoms.
The most common side effects of eating beans are gas and intestinal discomfort. These are not dangerous but can be unpleasant and even painful for some people. When a person adds beans to their diet, they should increase the amount gradually to give their gut time to adjust.
(The author is a lawyer turned business intelligence consultant turned chef. He also designs weekly and monthly meal plans for clients and conducts baking and cooking workshops.)