Happy Earth Day! - Be Plant Positive!

A Passion for Pulses

12 February 2024

Do you know what a pulse is?  Apart from a way to measure your heartbeat (it's super important for your heart to keep beating regularly!), pulses are also the edible seeds of leguminous plants.  A legume refers to any plant from the Fabaceae family; that would include its leaves, stems, and pods.  A green bean would be a legume but not a pulse.  Pulses are the beans that commonly end up on our plate, including chickpeas, beans, peas, lentils and peanuts (which are, perhaps confusingly, not nuts at all). Does that clear things up? 🥴

Legumes in general - and pulses in particular - are a superfood for humans and the planet.  They are inexpensive but packed with nutrition.  Daily intake has been associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and all cause mortality. That's why Dr. Greger (NutritionFacts.org) includes them in his Daily Dozen (if you haven't yet downloaded the app, check it out).

On top of that, many farmers use pulses as cover crops, because they fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, improving soil biodiversity and fertility.  Legumes added to other crops can improve fertilizer efficiency and climate change resilience.

But don't just take my word for it.  If you want to learn more about how pulses can change the world, watch this inspiring 90 second video from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

So are you with me???  If you're new to pulses, don't jump in the deep end. The shock of all that fiber may have repercussions!  But slowly easing them into your diet is a safe, healthy and comfortable way to do it. Whether you're starting with Meatless Mondays or upping your intake, there are so many interesting and delicious ways to use pulses.  The convergence of World Pulses Day and American Heart Health Month is just your sign. Give peas a chance!

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