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POOR MAN'S MEAT

Pulses: Why you should include them in your diet

They are considered a 'Poor man's meat' due to their high nutrition content and are cheap

In Summary

•Pulses are low in sodium, which is a contributor to hypertension.

•They are naturally gluten-free, which makes them an ideal option for people suffering from celiac disease.


This year’s World Pulses Day theme is Pulses to empower youth in achieving sustainable agri-food systems.
This year’s World Pulses Day theme is Pulses to empower youth in achieving sustainable agri-food systems.
Image: COURTESY

We see pulses at the grocery store, the farmers' markets and as side orders served with our favourite dish.

In many countries, including Kenya, they are part of the cultural heritage and are consumed on a regular or even daily basis.

In some cultures, they are considered a 'Poor man's meat' due to their high nutrition content and low cost.

The world today is celebrating World Pulses Day to raise awareness of the power of pulses due to their impressive nutritional value to their ability to support sustainable food systems and food security.

The theme for this year's World Pulse Day is "Pulses to empower youth in achieving sustainable agri-food systems".

For pulse-driven agri-food systems to succeed, young people must contribute their perspective, knowledge and expertise to build a future with sustainable agriculture and food security for all.

A report by the Global Pulse Confederation stated that this year's theme aims at providing an opportunity for speakers across the globe to focus on how to inspire the younger generation to bring the ancient generation of cultivating and eating pulses into the future.

Pulses are edible seeds of leguminous plants that grow in a pod and are cultivated for food. They include all beans, peas and lentils.

These small multicoloured seeds are a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, according to Food and Agriculture Organization.

Benefits of pulses

1. Pulses are naturally low in fat and have no cholesterol, which can contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

2. Pulses are low in sodium, a contributor to hypertension.

3. They are a great source of plant-based protein.

4. Pulses are high in potassium, which supports heart health and plays an important role in digestive and muscular functions.

5. They are often quoted among the top high fibre foods necessary for supporting digestive health and helping to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

6. They are an excellent source of folate (Vitamin B9) naturally present in many foods essential to the nervous system function and important during pregnancy to prevent foetal defects.

7. Pulses can be stored for a long time and therefore can help to increase the diversity of diets, especially in developing countries.

8. Pulses are low hypoglycemic index foods. They help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels, making them suitable for people with diabetes and ideal for weight management.

9. Pulses are naturally gluten-free, which makes them an ideal option for people suffering from celiac disease.

10. Finally, pulses are a good source of iron.

The United Nations calls upon all individuals to include pulses in their diet to achieve food security and reduce malnutrition.