5 Reasons To Include Pulses In Your Diet ASAP

by | Oct 12, 2016 | Food & Nutrition

Recipe by Vanessa Marx for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa
It’s all about the beans, baby!
To celebrate National Nutrition Week, we chatted to a few dieticians to find out why beans, peas and lentils, also known as ‘pulses’, should form an essential part of our diet. High in protein, vitamins and minerals, low in fat, cholesterol-free and a good source of fibre, pulses are disease-busting and are cheaper than animal-based protein.
1. “Pulses are a good, inexpensive source of protein,” says registered dietician, Kelly Schreuder. This means they’re particularly important for people who don’t get their protein fix from meat, fish or dairy.
2. Pulses can also be a healthy choice for meat-eaters. Registered Dietitian and ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) spokesperson, Monique Piderit explains that you can add pulses to soups, casseroles and meat sauces to add extra texture and flavour. This means you can use less meat, which makes the dish lower in fat and cheaper.
3. “Pulses are a good source of plant-based iron and have a low glycemic index, keeping you fuller for longer, ” says registered dietician, Cath Day
4. Pulses are a starchy food and add fibre to your meal, which aids digestion and helps keep you regular, explains registered dietician, Mpho Tshukudu. Plus, eating a diet high in fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Score!
5. Pulse crops are one of the most environmentally-friendly crops a farmer can grow. Water use in vegetables and pulses is typically much lower than that used in meat production. Pulses also contribute to soil quality by fixing nitrogen in the soil and are often used as a rotation crop.
Not sure what to make with pulses? Well, here’s a delicious idea

Veggie Burgers

(6 burgers)
– 350g butternut cubes
– 350g sweet potato cubes
– 150g lentils, cooked
– 2ml ground cinnamon
– 2ml ground nutmeg
– 30ml extra virgin olive oil
– Salt & ground black pepper
– 1/2 cup ground almonds
– 1 whole ice berg lettuce
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Add butternut, sweet potato and oil in a roasting tray. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
3. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until soft. Leave butternut and sweet potato to cool.
4. Mix lentils, veg and half the almonds in a bowl. Mash the mixture together until even. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
5. Split the mixture into 6 evenly sized balls. Shape into burger patties and coat in the remaining almonds.
6. Drizzle oil into a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Fry the patties for 1 minute on each side until golden brown.
7. Put your burger patty on the middle of a whole ice berg leaf. Wrap your burger up in a lettuce leaf and serve.
8. Add favourite burger toppings like guacamole, salsa and fresh sprouts.
Looking for more info on pulses? Here’s how to boost your diet with legumes, plus we’ve got a delicious lentil lasagne recipe you need to try. 

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