Pulses are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and there has never been a better time to harness the power of pulses than now! They are rich in iron, protein, minerals and fibre. They are low in fats and are the answer to the challenge of both chronic hunger and poor eating habits.
Legumes or pulses are a subgroup of plant foods from the Leguminosae family (commonly known as the pea family).Pulses not only boost the immune system, but they also have a positive effect on the nervous system. They are ideal for diabetics and people with celiac disease, and they even help to regulate weight.
Let’s take a closer look at the 12 health benefits of legumes and how they can help improve longevity as a whole:
Eating a diet rich in pulses was the most important dietary predictor of survival among the elderly, according to this research study. Which found for every 20-gram increase in daily legume intake there is a 7 to 8% reduction in mortality hazard ratio.
According to Dan Buettner, a New York Times bestselling author, who has spent over a decade studying the places around the globe where people live the longest. eating just a cup per day is the single-best longevity supplement available.
That’s right, eating a cup of pulses per day can add an extra four years to your life, says Buettner.
Protein is a vital nutrient that plays a key role in maintaining and repairing the body. Pulses are high in amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
There are 20 amino acids, and nine of these are essential. There are also two types of protein sources: complete and incomplete.
Animal products, soy, and quinoa are all complete proteins, which
Pulses make an excellent source of plant-based protein. They are lower in calories and saturated fat.
Did you know that 1-cup, or 198 g, serving of red lentils provides 17.9 g protein, 15.6 g fibre, and 6.6 mg iron?
3. Pulses are high iron
This makes them a potent food for preventing iron deficiency anaemia in women and children especially when combined with food containing vitamin C. Squeezing the juice of a lemon over that lentil pasta salad will significantly increase how much of the iron is absorbed.
According to research, beans are rich in polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant.
Free radicals can cause cell damage that can result in various diseases. Antioxidants help the body remove free radicals. In this way, antioxidant-rich foods, such as beans, can help protect the body from disease.
5. Heart health
People who consume beans regularly may be less likely to die of a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem. The authors of a 2017 meta-analysis suggested that one reason for the decrease in cardiovascular risk was that people had replaced higher fat animal meat proteins with beans. They are also high in dietary fibre, which is well known for reducing LDL cholesterol, a recognised risk factor in coronary heart disease.
6. Reduced risk of cancer
Pulses are rich in bioactive compounds such as phytochemicals and antioxidants that may contain anti-cancer properties.
Some studies have shown that pulses act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. These effects could reduce the risk of cancer.
Research published in 2015 analysed whether beans might have antioxidant properties that fight intestinal cancer. The results suggested that black beans had the highest antioxidant activity.
7. Glucose metabolism
With a low glycemic index, low fat and high fibre content, pulses are suitable for people with diabetes. Pulses increase satiety and help
to stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels by reducing spikes after eating and improving insulin resistance making pulses an ideal food for weight management.
The author of a 2018 review concluded that consuming a high fibre diet could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. There was also evidence that it may help lower blood sugar in people who already have the condition.
8. Preventing fatty liver
Fatty liver happens when fats accumulate in the liver. It can develop alongside obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other aspects of metabolic syndrome. Doctors base the treatment of fatty liver disease on weight loss and controlling blood sugar levels, as well as reducing bad cholesterol. Replacing higher fat animal proteins with beans is a good step towards better liver health.
9. Weight management
When a person eats beans, the fibre and healthful starches they contain can help create a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
This could help prevent overeating and may lead to weight loss by keeping you fuller for longer.
10. Improving gut health
Research has shown a variety of beans, especially black beans, enhance gut health by improving intestinal barrier function and increasing the number of beneficial bacteria. This may help prevent gut-associated diseases.
Healthy gut bacteria also support immune system function and may promote weight loss. Legumes feed the healthy gut bacteria colonies.
Pulses contain several vital nutrients, including folate. Folate is essential for overall health, to make healthy red blood cells. Folate is particularly important for women of childbearing age, as it is needed to support increasing maternal blood volume and help prevent neural tube defects in a fetus during pregnancy.
12. Prevent cognitive decline and reduce menopausal symptoms.
Pulses are rich in bioactive properties, such as phytochemicals and antioxidants. These have a positive effect on hormonal imbalances. Promoting bone health, helping in the prevention of breast cancer, preventing cognitive decline and reducing menopausal symptoms in women.
With diet being an important contributor to health, and to disease. Nutrition has moved from being viewed only as a preventive modality to being recognized as a disease management tool.
Incorporating healthy nutrition into your life might be a meaningful change that you can implement one bite at a time.
The time for nutritious food is now.