Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. Pulses grow in pods and come in a variety ofshapes, sizes and colors.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) recognizes 11 types of pulses: lentils, dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, Bambara beans, vetches, lupins and pulses nuts (not elsewhere specified – minor pulses that don’t fall into one of the other categories).
Pulses, seeds and nuts are all valuable sources of protein as well as being low in saturated fat, sodium and also cholesterol free. They are also good sources of fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals including thiamine (B1) riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), folate, calcium,potassium, iron and phosphorus.
The term “pulses” includes a range of grams and peas. They are important foods and have the advantage over animal proteins of being both inexpensive and versatile in how they are cooked, as well as being packed with nutrients. Due to their high soluble-fibre content, legumes are believed to help reduce blood cholesterol. They also have a very low glycemic index, which means they are absorbed relatively slowly into the blood stream and do not cause sudden increases in glucose blood levels. This makes this group of foods particularly beneficial for anyone who has diabetes and those at risk of developing this disease, such as people who are over weight or have a family history of diabetes.
Seeds are the embryo and food supply of new plants,where as nuts are dried tree fruits, which are contained within hard shells. Both seeds and nuts contain 10-25 percent protein and they are high in mono and polyunsaturated fat. They are good sources of fiber, vitamins; thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2) and E and the minerals; calcium, phosphorus, potassium andiron.
Research shows that people who regularly eat nuts have a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There are a number of possible explanations, in addition to the known benefits of unsaturated fat on cholesterol levels. For example, nuts are rich in arginine,an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide. This compound relaxes the blood vesselsand eases blood flow as well as making blood less likely to form clots.
Lentils have been a part of the human diet even before the a ceramic age. Lentils are often combined with rice, therefore providing a wholesome, inexpensive meal full of protein, fiber and carbohydrates. A lentil and rice dish is referred to in western Asia as mujaddara or mejadra. Rice and lentils are also cooked together in khichdi, apopular dish in the Indian subcontinent; a similar dish, koshari, is made inEgypt. Lentils are also used to prepare an affordable and nutritious soup allover Europe, North and South America which is often combined with some form of animal protein.
Lentils are rich in protein, making it one of the top fivehealthiest foods. Lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate and vitamin B1. Lentils are a good source of iron, having over half of a person’s daily iron allowance in a one cup serving. Lentils are easy to cook, nutrient dense andinexpensive, making them an ideal super food. We import Turkish, Canadian, Syrian, Indian and Chinese origin lentils.
Beans or fúl, mudammes is a common staple food in the Egyptian diet. The cooked and mashed beans are mixed with flax seed oil, salt, garlic and cumin and are traditionally eaten with baladi flat bread. Beans are also used in making falafels or tamayya. Beans are considered a good “stomach filling” breakfast, which is enjoyed by all Egyptians. Vendors selling fúl, tamayya and other breakfast items are a common sight all around Egypt in the early morning hours. Beans are full of protein and energy.
Beans also have health benefiting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant-sterols. In addition, beans are a very richsource of dietary fiber which provides 66% per 100 grams of the recommended dietary allowance, which helps in preventing constipation.