What Are Pulses? 6 Nutritional Reasons You Should Care

July 31, 2017 / in Nutrition / by Mark Levine, FFC Registered Dietitian

What Are Pulses? 6 Nutritional Reasons You Should CareWhat exactly are pulses?

Technically, pulses are the dry, edible seeds of plants in the legume family. To you and I, they include chickpeas, lentils, dry peas and beans. Easy to prepare and inexpensive, pulses provide a powerful nutritional bang for your buck!

Not only that, but they are naturally low in fat, sodium and are cholesterol free. Check out these 6 other benefits of pulses and why you need to incorporate them into your diet on a regular basis!

Good Source of Plant-Based Protein

Pulses contain up to 9 grams of protein per ½ cup cooked, which is twice the protein of quinoa. Are also low in fat compared to many protein-rich foods.

Cost Effective

The cost per serving of lentils is $0.10 vs $0.63 for chicken and $1.49 for beef.

High in Fiber

Pulses are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. This is helpful in staying regular, losing weight, and feeling full longer. Pulses have 4 times the fiber than brown rice.

Good for Those with Dietary Restrictions

Being vegetarian and gluten-free makes pulses a good option for those that require special diets or have food sensitivities or allergies.

Related: check out this recent post for some recipes using pulses.

Useful for Disease Prevention

Pulses have been shown to help control blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and high blood pressure, which are all risks factors for heart disease and diabetes.

Packed with Nutrients

A serving of pulses is rich in iron, potassium, and folate. In fact, a serving of black beans has 1.5 times the iron in a 3 oz. flank steak, 3 times the amount of folate in kale, and as much potassium as a banana!

How to Incorporate Pulses into Your Diet

As you can see, there are many benefits to adding pulses into your diet, and regardless of the season, it’s always easy to have them available due to their long shelf lives.

So next time you go to the grocery store and are thinking about what you want to prepare, try one of these substitutions:

  • Swap half the meat in nearly any recipe with lentils
  • Add cooked white beans to your smoothie
  • Add chickpeas to your pasta dish

Why not give these incredibly healthy, tasty, affordable, and versatile powerhouses a try?! Have a favorite recipe that incorporates pulses? Let us know in the comments!

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