How much do you know about pulses?
No, not heartbeats. The food. They’re members of the legume family like peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.
They’re cheap, nutritious, tasty – and they’re looking to make a big splash this year. The U.N. has declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulses.
That’s according to Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada.
“What most Canadians don’t know and what surprises a lot of people around the world is that Canada is a global superpower when it comes to exporting pulses. We export to more than 150 countries, and we in Canada account for more than 1/3 of global pulse trade.”
But despite being a big deal in Canada’s agriculture sector, Bacon says Canadians don’t actually eat many pulses – partly for cultural reasons, and partly because we seem to love meat.
Bacon says that’s a shame – since the plants tread close to superfood territory.
They’re high in protein, fiber, and micronutriens – and they’re low in fat.
“You have a complete nutrition package.”
On top of nutrition, he says they also have health benefits like reducing cholesterol and helping stop spikes in blood sugar, something key for those at risk of diabetes.
Rounding it out, Bacon says pulses are environmentally friendly, using far less fertilizer than other crops.
Taking the pulse
Bacon says with the U.N. working to popularize the pulse, he’s hoping Canadians jump aboard.
“What we want to do in the international year of pulses is make a broader group of Canadians more aware of attributes, and why they should have a passion for pulses.”
They’re asking Canadians to take the “pulse pledge” – that is, to eat half a cup of whatever pulse they please per week for 10 weeks.
He says if you sign up, they’ll send you recipies and tips to get you started on incorporating the food into your diet.