If you’re a fitness fanatic and follow a plant-based or vegan diet, you’ve probably heard of pulses before and have incorporated them into your diet already – perhaps without even knowing it! If you’re not sure or would like to find out more about pulses, just take a look at the below to find out all you need to know about this delicious food group and why they’re so nutritious!
Pulses are a strand of the legume family (legumes are plants that grow in pods) and, if you want to get into the specifics, they are the seed part of legumes. The most common types of pulses are of lentils, beans and peas – they’re probably foods you eat regularly already!
Here is a short list of some other pulses:
So what is it that makes them such an important part of our diet? Let’s take a look at just a handful of health benefits you get from pulses.
In short, there are a ton of essential nutrients packed into pulses and are therefore considered to be an essential addition to a healthy diet – especially if you are on a plant based diet! Here are the main reasons why pulses pack such a nutritional punch.
Pulses are a fantastic plant-based source of protein making it an especially important food for maintaining a healthy vegan diet as meat eaters will typically get most of their protein from meat.
You’ll find a whopping 15g (on average) of protein in a cup of pulses. That’s pretty much a third (again, on average) of your recommended daily protein – how good is that?! They’re also celebrated for being a low-fat type of protein especially when you compare them to other sources of protein such as meat, fish and certain types of nuts. Explore more vegan sources of protein here.
Fibre is a key part of a healthy and balanced diet and is especially important for keeping your gut healthy. Pulses are regarded as a strong source of fibre due to the presence of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Not sure what that means? Here’s a quick explanation of those terms:
Soluble fibre – helps to control blood sugar levels, body weight and lower cholesterol.
Insoluble fibre – this is the part that regulates your digestive system and keeps your digestion working in the way it should be. Insoluble fibre is also super important for keeping your heart healthy – there’s no end to the benefits!
Folate is a B vitamin which is required for the production and maintenance of new cells making it an especially important nutrient for growth. The presence of folate in pulses means the ingredient is a beneficial addition to diets for children and pregnant women.
Nitrogen-rich soil is required in order for crops to thrive. As pulses are a nitrogen-fixing plant, they make significantly less impact on the environment due to their natural ability to grow without the help of fertilizers or pesticides. In fact, they actually increase the presence of nitrogen in the soil leaving a healthy patch for new crops. Not only are they delicious but they’re super considerate too!
There is an endless array of vegan meal ideas using pulses as they blend particularly well with salads, stews and curries. Plus, you can stock up on a bunch of pulses without breaking the bank; they’re cheap and readily available. Here are a few of our own recipes to inspire you:
Puy lentil salad with peppers
Winter warming pumpkin stew
Aubergine and green lentil curry
So there you have it! To help you keep up your healthy lifestyle whilst giving you an extra boost of energy, try out our new Millionaire Shortbread POWER bar!