5 reasons to eat pulses

We tend to associate pulses with heavy winter stews and rarely eat them during the summer. And even in winter, the consumption of pulses is falling to the point of becoming insufficient, as very few families eat pulses with the recommended minimum frequency of twice per week.
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The consumption of vegetables has fallen, not just during the summer, but also at cold times of the year. This could be partly due to how long it takes to prepare them, not to mention our lack of time to plan recipes that favour the regular use of pulses in our summer diet. Commonly consumed pulses include chickpeas, lentils and haricot beans, however, soya beans also belong to this family, as well as the peas and beans that we normally eat fresh.

Eating pulses in summer

  • They are a source of carbohydrates insecurities. Unlike simple carbohydrates, they take time to be absorbed and therefore produce a slower and more moderate increase in blood sugar levels, which translates into a gradual and efficient energy boost. Furthermore, pulses help us to feel full and control our appetite between meals. 
  • They contain vegetable protein. Their protein content is much higher than that of cereals, however, it is recommended to combine these two groups to obtain a protein source with a higher biological value containing all of the essential amino acids. Combining different plant sources always improves the protein quality of a dish, such as mixing pulses with cereals, dried fruits and seeds, for example: lentil salad with rice and walnuts. Another option is to add a small amount of animal protein, such as a hard-boiled egg, a can of tuna, salmon, strips of ham, etc. Other examples include dishes such as chickpeas with tomato and hard-boiled egg, or a haricot bean salad with tuna or salmon. 
  • They are a source of vitamins and minerals. Although the mineral and vitamin content can vary from one type of pulse to the next, in general, they are rich in folic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and iron. 
  • They are rich in fibre. As well as being a good choice due to their high nutritional value, they are also one of the best sources of dietary fibre and help to keep our digestive system healthy and active. Despite their ability to produce gases, a weekly intake of pulses is one of the best ways to combat constipation. People who are not used to eating pulses are advised to gradually introduce them into their diet in small quantities in order to get used to them. 
  • The have a low fat content. Generally speaking, the pulses that we eat have a low content of mainly unsaturated fats. What's more, they are believed to be very healthy for the heart. Other pulses such as soya beans have a much higher fat content.

Recommendations

It is recommended to consume pulses (60-80 g/portion of raw pulses) at least twice a week. However, within a balanced diet, you can even increase this quantity and eat more vegetable proteins and reduce your intake of animal protein, something that we consume too much of today. However, in reality, very few homes following these recommendations.  

Pulses are a perfect choice for packed lunches in the summer. 

Pulses are perfect for tupperware recipes. In addition, they can be combined with cereals and vegetables, and/or dried fruits, nuts and seeds, to create a well-rounded dish. Some great summer recipes to put in tupperware include:

  • Chickpeas with spinach, pine nuts and sesame seeds
  • Haricot bean salad with tomato, onion, pepper and anchovies
  • Sautéed vegetables with hummus and hard-boiled egg
  • Chickpea salad with green beans and sliced almonds
  • Pardina lentil salad with fresh cheese and cherry tomatoes
  • Lentil salad with quinoa or rice

A balanced diet is essential for leading a healthy life In our blog, we offer you nutritional and easy recipes to incorporate into your daily diet: diaria:

2017-01-26

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