Why You Should Be Eating Pulses

Pulses include beans, lentils, and peas. They are a great source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, they’re low fat, cheap, and count towards your five a day. They can be particularly important for people who do not get protein from meat, fish, or dairy products. Pulses are still a healthy choice for people who do eat meat, you can add them to soups, casseroles, and meat sauces to add extra flavour. Therefore you can use less meat, making it cheaper.

Pulses can be:

  • Baked beans
  • Red, green, brown, or yellow lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Garden peas
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Runner beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Broad beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Butter beans
  • Cannellini beans

Pulses are a great source of iron which is important to make red blood cells, to carry oxygen around the body. They are also a starchy food, meaning they can add fibre to your meal. Having a diet that is high in fibre is associated with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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We should be getting our 5 a day, everyday and pulses can count towards this. One portion is 80g which is around 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked pulses, but if you eat more in a day it still only counts as 1 of your 5 a day. This is because they don’t give the same mixture of vitamins and minerals as fruit and vegetables. This does exclude green beans such as broad beans and runner beans as they count as a vegetable.