What On Earth Are Pulses?



The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP). As we near the end of February, the topic of Pulses is slowly emerging. It’s great to hear the beginnings of new dialogues on the topic. Over the last few weeks I’ve heard questions and comments such as: “What are Pulses?”  “I never knew until now that they were called Pulses!”

So…what exactly are they? Pulses are part of the legume family and the term “pulse” refers to the dried seed. The most common varieties are dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. These little gems can be stored for months without loosing their nutritional value. Our Pulses are highly nutritious and provide the following health benefits:

  • Rich in vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, iron and zinc
  • High in protein
  • Low in fat
  • High in fiber
  • Low glycemic index
  • Cholesterol and Gluten-free

To some people, a huge international declaration of an action plan for Pulses might sound a bit ridiculous. And… why am I taking the time to blog about beans? These tiny legumes can have an enormous impact on our health and the world that we are living in today! I encourage you to visit the IYP 2016 website http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/en/ to learn about the importance of IYP 2016. Here are a few points of interest that you will find:

  • Reasons for such a declaration are fully explained, along with the objectives for IYP 2016.
  • You will have opportunity to follow updates on the action plan throughout the year.
  • You will learn some surprising facts that you might not know about Pulses.
  • Free literature-such as posters, pamphlets, etc. are available for download. (Great for classrooms and workshops!)
  • Be sure to show your support by sharing some of their social media tips-including cover photos for your Facebook page. (Don’t forget to use the hashtag #IYP2016)

Pulses are used in recipes by various cultures world wide. In recognition of IYP 2016, I challenge you to experiment with some new Pulses recipes.  (Recipes are also featured on the website).  In our busy society, when we are cooking, it is generally more convenient for us to use canned Pulses. When using the canned, I recommend that you rinse them well under cold water before using due to the often high sodium content.

If you discover an amazing Pulses recipe that you would like to share, please leave a comment, or contact me by email at jennifer.doherty@GlassSKY.org.


Jennifer Doherty

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