2016 is the International Year of Pulses

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on August 25, 2016 · 0 comments

Whether you call them pulses, legumes or just beans, the 68th UN General Assembly has declared 2016 as the year to focus on bean crops as part of a worldwide sustainable food system which promotes food security and enhances nutrition for many people around the World.

Beans are a humble, forgotten vegetable, often considered a poor man’s meat or a vegetarian staple. For most of us they are only an occasional food – a side order of beans and rice, chickpeas scattered on a salad, or a bowl of split pea soup on a cold day. Many people are even surprised that beans are actually a vegetable because they seem to straddle more than one food group – vegetable, protein and carbohydrate.

That combination is exactly why beans qualify as a nutrition superstar. They are high in protein, like meat, fish, poultry and eggs, while being packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals like their vegetables cousins. Add to that a rich complement of complex carbohydrates and fiber, while at the same time being low in fat and sodium, and cholesterol-free.

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