Making Carbs Count


Pulses are a low fat source of protein with

high levels of protein and fibre. Pulses also

contain important vitamins and minerals

like iron, potassium and folate.

Most national dietary guidelines

recommend pulses as part of a healthy

diet. Studies have shown that people

who eat at least ½ cup of pulses per

day have higher intakes of fibre, protein,

calcium, potassium, folate, zinc, iron, and

magnesium as well as lower intakes of

total and saturated fat

Many diets around the world rely on

pulses as a source of protein. The amount

of protein in beans, lentils, chickpeas and

peas is 2-3 times the levels found in cereal

grains like wheat, rice, quinoa, oats,

barley, and corn. For example, eating

just ½ cup of lentils provides the same

amount of protein as 1 cup of quinoa or 2

cups of rice or corn. Compared to animal

and many other plant-based sources of

protein, pulses are a more affordable and

sustainable protein source.

All proteins are created from twenty

different amino acid building blocks. Nine

of these amino acids cannot be produced

by the body and are called "essential"

because they must come from foods we

eat. Most plant proteins lack at least one

essential amino acid. However, when two

or more plant-based sources of protein

are combined, each food can provide

the essential amino acid(s) that the

complementary food(s) is missing. Eating

protein from a variety of sources, from

both plant and animal sources, ensures

the body receives all of the essential

amino acids necessary for good health.

One cup of cooked pulses gives

you more than half the amount of fibre

you need for the entire day. Pulses also

contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre can help manage body

weight, blood sugar levels and lower

cholesterol. Insoluble fibre on the other

hand, assists with digestion and regularity.

Pulses also contain resistant starch, a type

of carbohydrate that behaves like fibre

in the body; and has been shown have

similar health benefits such as reduced

circulating cholesterol and blood sugar

levels as well as improved gut health.

The nutritional content of pulses

Left and below: Cranberry

beans growing and being

harvested in Italy.

BELOW Veggie bean stew

from Dumuth cookery school,

Bristol. Click on the image

to download the recipe. See

overleaf for a recipe for a

meaty stew with lima beans

from Argentina.

continued over


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