A pulse is an edible seed that grows in a pod. These include beans (baked beans, kidney beans, butter beans, pinto beans, cannelloni beans), peas (black eyed peas, chickpeas, marrowfat peas, split peas) and lentils (red, green, brown and puy).
Pulses have many benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease and increase a feeling of fullness and therefore helping with weight loss or maintenance of a healthy weight. Pulses are great to include in a varied, healthy diet and therefore are ideal for keeping your #Liver #Healthy.
Pulses are high in fibre, a nutrient that tends to be lacking in many people’s diets. The fibre in pulses includes soluble fibre (which helps manage body weight, blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol) and insoluble fibre (which helps digestion).
Beans and pulses are often associated with flatulence, but this is a little unfair. If you’re not used to eating beans and pulses it’s best to introduce them gradually over a few weeks to allow your gut bacteria to adjust. Pulses contain some sugars (raffinose and tachyose) that lead to gas formation when they meet intestinal bacteria. After soaking dry beans, drain the water used to soak them and use fresh water to cook them in. Rinsing canned beans in water will also help remove some of the water soluble sugars and should help reduce flatulence.
Pulses are low in fat, a great source of protein, especially for people who don’t eat a lot of meat, fish or dairy. They also count towards your 5-A-Day portions of fruit and vegetables. A portion of pulses is around three heaped tablespoons. Pulses contain a variety of B vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium so are great to include in meals and to have as a healthy snack.
In fact, pulses are a great low-cost and extremely versatile ingredient to include in your diet. There are lots of ways to incorporate pulses into any dish – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, baked foods and even drinks. You could add beans to salads or soups to make them more filling, add pulses to dips or smoothies, or bake brownies and bread with pulse flours to boost the protein and fibre content.
For recipe ideas using pulses see www.pulses.org