Pulses are in the nutritional spotlight, and we aren’t talking heart beats.
Pulses — a branch of the legume or pea family — are harvested for their seeds. Pulses include chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), lentils, and dried peas and beans like kidney, navy, black and lima. Some legumes are not pulses: soybeans, peanuts, peapods and green beans, for example.
What makes pulses important are their protein and fiber content, important qualities especially for those on meatless diets.
Besides being inexpensive, pulses also have a low glycemic index, so they raise blood sugar levels less than other carbohydrates, according to the Harvard Health Letter.
Pulses are easily added to salads and stews to increase the protein punch, but food makers are increasingly providing new products that make it easy to add pulses to the diet. Among the new products are flours used in mixes for brownies and pancakes. Pulse flour made from garbanzo beans or peas can be used as a coating for food you would typically drench in white flour before sautéing.
Pulse pastas made from red lentil or black beans are also new, replacing semolina or durum wheat.
There are even new pulse-based snacks such as crackers and chips made with black beans, safflower oil and sea salt.
You can also add pulses to your diet through soups. White bean, lentil chili, and pea soup are just a few.