Nutritional Benefits Of Pulses





Health, 05 Jan - 2017 ,

Nutritional Benefits Of Pulses
The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP) (A/RES/68/231)

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared and celebrated 2016 as international year of pulses. Reason behind this celebration was to make people aware about nutritional benefits of pulses and motivate them towards including more and

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared and celebrated 2016 as international year of pulses. Reason behind this celebration was to make people aware about nutritional benefits of pulses and motivate them towards including more and more pulses in their diets all over the world.Demand for food both in terms of quantity and quality also increases with exploding population. Most of the developing and under developed countries fails to meet this demand, results in malnutrition. Malnutrition leads to serious illness or even death. World Bank includes India as one of the highest malnourished countries in the world. Eating too little or too much, both results in malnutrition so to tackle with this evil we have to take very balanced diet and for all this problem pulses is the best and only option. Being the nutritional powerhouse, pulses provides twice the amount of protein than any other whole grain cereals including rice and wheat.

Now question comes, what is the pulse? Pulses are edible seeds of plants in the legume family. FAO recognizes only those legumes as pulse which has dry, edible seeds, with low fat content and not those which are used for oil extraction (e.g. soybean and groundnut). FAO recognizes 11 types of pulses: dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, lentils, Bambara beans, vetches and lupins.

The most valuable thing that we possess is our body and we need it to run smoothly for a lifetime by eating healthy and balanced diet and for this pulses are the perfect answer. Pulses are perfect package of protein that our body is required for growth and development, repairs and production of different hormones. Body cannot manufacture all the building block of protein that is amino acid it needs, so we have to get them from protein sources like meat and pulses. Pulses contain more than 20% of protein as wellas dietary fiber(Table 1) and combined with cereals like rice, maize, sorghum, wheat and oat, it becomes the complete diet to stay healthy(Table 2). As cereals are deficient in lysine content but pulses are rich sources of it, on the other hand pulses have methionine as limiting amino acid cereals are full of it. In such way pulses and cereals are perfectly complement each other.

Table 1- Protein and Dietary Fiber Content of Pulses

Common name

Protein g/100g DM

Dietary fiber g/100g

Chick pea

22.2

25.6

Common bean

23.9

25.4

Common pea

23.1

16.7

Pigeon pea

21.0

15.0

 

Table 2- Protein Quality of Cereal Grain and of Cereal Grain / Bean Diets Fed at Equal Levels of Dietary Protein

Protein source

Avg.wt. gain (g)

PER (Protein Efficiency Ratio)

100% rice

43

2.15

90% rice + 10% beans

56

2.32

100% maize

13

0.87

90% maize + 10% beans

32

1.40

100% sorghum

12

0.88

90% sorghum + 10% beans

30

1.39

100% wheat

19

1.05

90% wheat + 10% beans

41

1.73

100% oats

34

1.60

90% oats + 10% beans

75

2.37

(Source: Bressani (1972)

A cup of pulse a day keeps the doctor away.  Besides having lots of protein it also packed with healthy carbohydrates and fiber and fully loaded with vitamins B, E and K. Minerals also present in plenty of amount viz., iron, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, and zincand top of that it contains only 1% fat, helps in fight diseases like obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. 

A healthy carbohydrate gives healthy energy. Apulse containsabout 40% of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate can be classified as good and bad carbohydrates. Good carbohydrates are complex and digested more slowly, resulting release of sugar very slowly into blood over a longer period of time. Pulses contain good type of carbohydrate, so it can be serving as best food for diabetic patients as the diabetic patient need to lower their blood sugar. The bad carbohydrates are the simple carbohydrates containing singular sugar molecules and these are found in sugar, white bread, sodas and sweets.

Fiber is very important for digestion, preventing constipation and certain cancers. A cup of pulses provides 50-70% of our daily fiber needs (25 g per day), while a cup of bran flakes only gives 30% of what we need.Soluble fiber of pulses lowers cholesterol, keeps heart and arteries healthy.The dietary fiber of beans is releases into the bloodstream slowly lead to feeling full for a longer period of time which enhances the effectiveness of weight-reducing diets. The Idaho Bean Commission website says that “about 75% of the fiber is insoluble which may reduce the risk of colon cancer. The remaining 25% of the fiber is soluble fiber which may reduce blood cholesterol. Studies have confirmed that beans are effective hypochoesterolemic agents when added to the diet. Consumption of beans produces a moderate increase in blood glucose and insulin levels which may be helpful in the metabolic control of diabetes”.

Bean Variety

Calories

Protein

Fat

Carbs (g)

Fiber(g)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Potassium (mg)

Faba Beans

187

12.92

0.68

33.40

9.2

61

2.55

456

Lima Bean

176

10.10

0.72

33.06

13.0

70

4.00

706

Mung Bean

15

  17.05

0.07

02.67

0.16

18

0.54

34

Green Bean

36

  20.00

0.24

08.40

3.6

58

2.16

220

Lima Bean

209

11.58

0.54

40.19

9.0

54

4.17

969

Adzuki bean

294

17.30

0.23

56.97

16.8

64

4.60

1,224

Black Beans

227

15.24

0.93

40.78

15.0

46

3.61

611

 

Anti-nutrient factor of pulses-In many cultures, pulses are underestimated and considered as ‘protein for the poor’. Reason behind this is the anti-nutritional properties of pulses. They can cause bloating, flatulence and takes a long time to cook. Some anti-nutrients of pulses reduce the body’s ability to absorb the various minerals that pulses contain. For example Lathyrussativus(chickling pea) contain beta-N-oxalylamino-L-alanine (BOAA), potent agent for lathyrism, a form of motoneuron disease. Fortunately, many of these anti nutrient issues of pulses can overcome by using traditional cooking techniques, such as soaking, germination (sprouting), fermentation and pounding. The nutritional value of pulses can be further enhanced by combing other foods with it, as other foods help to ensure that the body is able to better absorb all the nutrients found in pulses. For example, when beans are eaten with grains the body is better able to absorb iron and other minerals found in pulses. A pulse with vitamin C rich foods also enhances body’s ability to absorb iron.

KEY FACTS

  1. With a low glycemic index, low fat and high fiber content, pulses are suitable for people with diabetes.
  2. Pulses are an ideal food for weight management as they increase satiety and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels by reducing spikes after eating.
  3. LDL cholesterol cause coronary heart disease but dietary fiber of pulses reduces risks of it.
  4. During pregnancy folic acid is become essential to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) like Spina bifida in newborn babies. Pulses contain folate in appropriate quantity so, pulse rich diet is very important for pregnant women.
  5. Women at reproductive age become more vulnerable for iron deficiency anemia. Pulses high iron content makes them a potent food for replenishing iron stores to prevent risk of anemia.
  6. When pulses and cereals eaten together protein quality of diet significantly improved, this is important for growth and development.Pulses are ideal for vegetarians and vegans to ensure adequate intakes of protein, minerals and vitamins.
  7. Pulses are rich in dietary fiber, resistant starch, phenolic compounds, phytosterols, oligosaccharides, etc. which contribute to the anticancer properties of pulses.
  8. Beans and lentils are excellent source of phytoestrogens, which prevent cognitive decline and reduce menopausal symptoms.
  9. Gluten proteins have low nutritional and biological value, and it cause many health problems like celiac disease. Pulses are gluten-free, so can be used as an effective treatment against gluten allergy.
  10. To meet demand of daily nutritional requirement pulses are an excellent complementary food for infants and young children. By some value addition and post-harvest processing, pulses can be added to the daily diet. 

Ways to eat pulses- They can be eaten at any meal. Boiled chickpeas, mung beans and butter beans are the best choice for breakfast as well as snack, as they are rich in fiber and helps in digestion. Bean burgers prepared with chickpeas or fava beans or both, can be eaten for lunch. Pulses are used as whole grains or as dal. Rice with bean curry is very healthy choice for lunch as well for dinner. Beans are commonly added in the soups, salads, casseroles and pasta sauces. Even children as young as six months can enjoy a puree of boiled pulses with other foods.It can be used with baked good as whole or flour.

Besides human nutrition pulses are also used in the feedstuff for pigs and poultry. As a steady source of human nutrition, feed for animals, and soil sustainability, pulse crops play a major role in food security.Do you agree that pulses can save the day for us and our planet? By eating them, you keep yourself super healthy and strong, but you also become a hero that can help save our planet. If you agreed then consider adding this wonder-food to your plate each day.


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