Why You Should Consume More Pulses and Chickpeas

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I personally love beans, pulses and chickpeas.  They are rich in various nutrients and contain proteins and fiber along with minerals and Vitamins.  One of the aspects which I love about these seeds is the great number of recipes which are available around beans, chickpeas and beans. Almost all regions in the world consumes these foods in one form or another.  Hence these are not difficult to incorporate in our foods.

I came across an article (Source – http://www.kansascity.com/living/food-drink/article100875587.html) which explained the benefits of consuming these seeds.  I believe this article presents in an interesting manner why we should consume more pulses and beans.  Here is the article below.

Chickpeas, kidney and cannellini beans, fava and lima beans. Soybeans, snap peas, lentils and peanuts. They’re all part of the genetic family called pulses.

If you haven’t already jumped on the pulse bandwagon, treat your taste buds to one of the most cost-effective protein sources on the planet. With a low carbon footprint and natural nitrogen-fixing properties, pulses can help to increase soil fertility, foster sustainable agriculture and slow climate change.

Pulses became big news globally when the 68th U.N. General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses, calling them “nutritious seeds for a sustainable future.”

High in fiber and amino acids, low-glycemic pulses may reduce the risk of diabetes. Pulses are also rich in potassium, which can promote lower blood pressure and counteract the effects of excess dietary sodium. And they’re a good source of folate, a B vitamin that aids in cell production and maintenance. These nutrients may help prevent or manage chronic health issues including obesity, coronary conditions (by lowering cholesterol levels) and cancer.

But for most bean lovers, pulses are simply tasty ingredients that can star in a wide array of dishes, sometimes even substituting for dairy’s creaminess and body. Every bean has a slightly different texture and color, which enhances its deliciousness.

“The basic quality of beans is they have a wonderful creamy center that is a perfect carrier for flavor — waiting for something to give it a little zing,” says Robin Asbell, chef, instructor and author of eight books including “Great Bowls of Food” (Countryman Press, 2016). “Red lentils are a beautiful backdrop for wonderful spices. There are beans that will hold more texture, like a lima bean, and there are others that become completely soft.”

TV personality, cookbook author and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich remembers her grandmother growing beans that they used in Italian winter soups, stews and sauces. “They’re kind of a neutral flavor that harmonizes with other strong flavors like bacon or tomatoes and sausages,” she says. “They mellow chicory and escarole salads, adding a tender element.” They also absorb the flavor of meat and sauces and are good on top of bruschetta, she adds.

Beans are an integral part of the Native American “holy trinity” — beans, corn and squash — too. These “Three Sisters” “provide every nutrient known to sustain life,” says Lois Ellen Frank, James Beard award-winning author of “Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations.”

From the Kiowa nation on her mother’s side (and Sephardic Jewish on her father’s side), Frank has documented the foods and ways of tribes from the Southwest for more than two decades. A chef, photographer and founder of Red Mesa Cuisine in Santa Fe, N.M., Frank is also a culinary instructor and an adjunct professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

“Historically, native people ate a lot less meat, and they ate seasonally,” she says. “Beans could be eaten throughout the year. They are the foundation that things revolve around. Food is our medicine (and) is encapsulated in the bean. They’re low in fat and a plant-based miracle — sustenance in a pod and way more sustainable than animal protein is.”

Frank says hummus, soups, stews, tacos and burritos are only a few ways to use beans.

Bastianich particularly likes cannellini, kidney and fava beans. The cannellini bean “has a thin skin and it’s very pulpy,” she says. “I like kidney beans — they’re great for soups — and dried fava beans — I buy them shelled. They split in half and they give a great density to the soup. The puree can almost be like mashed potato.”

Registered dietitian, nutrition consultant and educator Lisa Markley loves lentils too, especially the beluga variety. “They’re the gateway bean because you don’t have to plan ahead or soak them ahead of time, and they tend to cook up fairly quickly. Red lentils take less than 30 minutes to cook, but I love all of the colors.”

“My second favorite (pulse) is chickpeas. They’re heart-shaped and really good for your heart because of complex carbohydrates. I love the flavor. One of my favorite ways to use (toasted chickpeas) is as croutons on a salad; start with already cooked or canned chickpeas.”

“Heartlanders like to eat from the garden, or farm-to table,” says Judith Fertig, an award-winning, Kansas City-based author whose cookbooks include “Heartland, the Cookbook.” But “instead of just simmering a pot of beans, a traditional favorite, there are now other ways to enjoy them.”

“Beans in their shells might be new to gardeners and grillers, but a welcome addition. (They) add heartiness while still being able to carry whatever flavors you want to add to them. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame has been celebrating shelled, gently cooked beans for a long time, and they’re just starting to catch on here with the added popularity of Middle Eastern food. They’re delicious as a topping on grilled bread with fruity olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.”

A PLETHORA OF PULSES

There are many types of pulses, and some go by several names, which can be confusing. Here are the most common.

1. Adzuki bean, also called Adanka bean

2. Broad bean, also called fava bean, bell bean, field bean

3. Vetch

4. Kidney bean, or common field bean, habichuela, snap bean

5. Chickpea, or calvance pea, chestnut bean, dwarf pea, garbanzo bean, gram pea

6. Cowpea, or asparagus bean, black-eyed pea, crowder pea, field pea, Southern pea, frijole, paayap

7. Guar bean, or cluster bean

8. Hyacinth bean, or bonavist, bataw, lablab

9. Lentil

10. Lima bean, or butter bean, patani

11. Lupin, or lupine, lupine, sweet lupin

12. Mung bean

13. Peas, or podded pea, snap pea, chicharo

14. Peanuts, or groundnut, earth nut, mani

15. Pigeon pea, or kadios

16. Soybean, or tepary bean

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