In 2016, the United Nations proclaimed February 10 as International Pulses Day in an effort to raise awareness of the world to achieve food security and reduce malnutrition.
Legumes are the dried seeds of plants of the fabaceae family. They differ from peanuts and soybeans by their low fat content and high protein content. The legume category includes dried peas, lentils, chickpeas and dried beans.
Did you know that…
|Canada is one of the world's largest producers of pulses. These plants are regenerative for our soils, since they reintroduce nitrogen (N2) in the earth by their roots and require very little water. They therefore promote soil conservation and sustainable agriculture.|
Legumes are a excellent source of plant-based protein. Surprisingly, 100 grams of dry lentils contain 25 grams of protein! While cooking, pulses absorb a large amount of water, reducing the protein content of lentils by about 8 percent. However, by accompanying your legumes with cereals, you can further increase the protein quality of your meal, for example by pairing lentils with rice (1).
Legumes are also low low in fat and free from saturated fat. They are very rich en soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Dietary fiber from legumes slows down the transit of food consumed and this has the effect of contributing to the feeling of fullness (feeling of having eaten enough). In addition, this slowing down reduces the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body, thus being beneficial for blood sugar control. In the small intestine, soluble fiber attracts and retains LDL cholesterol which helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, and the maintenance of a healthy weight.
Legumes are also rich in vitamins and minerals. They are, among other things, an excellent source of iron if consumed with a source of vitamin C, such as red, orange or yellow fruits and vegetables.
|Pulses can be bought dry in larger quantities than when bought in cane - and for less! Contrary to what is often recommended, they do not need a long soaking or cooking that takes hours. With a pressure cooker, it could take 15 to 40 minutes to cook, depending on the type of legume.|
(1) FAO (2020). Natural nutritious seeds: 10 good reasons to eat legumes. http://www.fao.org/fao-stories/article/fr/c/1176991/