The Secret Superfood You’re Probably Already Eating
If you are a big fan of Indian food or constantly nomming on chili when it’s cold outside then you are eating more superfoods than you think. Why? Because you’re eating pulses. What are pulses? Let us explain. The copious amounts of chickpeas, lentils, dry peas, and beans in Indian food, falafels and more are pulses, and they are few of the secret superfood that is mighty good for you.
These dry, edible seeds of plants in the legume family pack a whole lot of health benefits. The United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses to help raise awareness for this sustainable, affordable, and versatile superfood. And pulses definitely deserve that title—they’re loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
To further persuade you to eat as many pulses as you can, here are 9 facts about the goods.
1. Fibrous? Oh, yes!
It is commonly known the average bean has decent fiber content, but did you know pulses actually have three times more fiber than brown rice? A diet rich in fiber can lower your risk of heart disease. All the good things!
Lentils actually deliver twice the amount of protein per serving then, for example, quinoa. According to the USDA, you’ll get 9 grams of protein from 1/2 cup of cooked lentils and only 4 grams from 1/2 cup of quinoa.
3. Iron galore
Iron doesn’t only come from meat, one half-cup serving of black beans contains more iron than a 3-ounce flank steak. Vegetarians, we bet you’re happy to hear this. Even better yet, you can pair pulses with foods like broccoli or red peppers that are high in vitamin C, and they will help your body absorb the iron. Dream team!
4. Potassium, yum!
What’s smaller than bananas and less sweet but packs more potassium than your favorite yellow fruit? Dry peas! These contain just as much, if not more, potassium than bananas. Yet another reason to praise those split pea soups we slurp on all winter.
5. Antioxidant Abundant
Red kidney beans are your go to for antioxidant goodness. They are packed with the stuff! So pile those on at the salad bar.
6. Environmentally Friendly
While you eat your seventh scoop of hummus, you are doing some good for the world. Pulses have a lower carbon footprint than almost any other food group with the ability to enrich the soil and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. This is probably why pulses are hailed as one of the most sustainable proteins in the world.
7. Water Saver
Pulses only need one-tenth the amount of water to grow, as compared to other proteins. They are also drought and frost resistant, so they can basically withstand anything.
8. Weight-Loss FTW
Research says that including pulses in your diet may lead to weight loss. We’ll take a second serving of pulses, please!
9. Bean, Beans, They’re Good for Your Heart
And they’re good for everything else too. A recent study found people who consumed beans ate more nutrients overall and had lower body weights and blood pressure than non-bean eaters.
All of this information should be enough to cause you to run to the store and load up on the pulses for this secret superfood!