Pulses consume 50% less non-renewable energy than other agricultural products. They are grown on zero tillage systems that massively decrease the amount of water used for irrigation.
The United Nations has declared 2016 as the International Year Of Pulses (IYOP). It presents unprecedented opportunity to capture the attention of food industries, governments, international bodies and consumers towards the effect of pulses.
How do pulses affect the Earth and its population?
69% of worldwide water used is used for irrigating crops. 30% of greenhouse emissions come from farming. With the world's population reaching 7 billion people and expected increase to 9 billion people by 2050, an important question worries governments and policy makers. How will our limited resources keep up with the increase in food demand? The answer is simple. Pulses.
Pulses consume 50% less non-renewable energy than other agricultural products. They are grown on zero tillage systems that massively decrease the amount of water used for irrigation. Also, pulses do not require additional fertilizers as leguminous plants produce their own nitrogen. In doing so they also increase the soil health by providing nitrogen for succeeding crops.
How do pulses affect nutrition?
Pulses are a part of a healthy, balanced diet and have been shown to have an important role in preventing illnesses. Pulses are a low fat, high fibre source of protein and a low glycemic index.
Pulses are very high in fibre, containing both soluble and insoluble fibres. Soluble fibre helps to decrease blood cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels, and insoluble fibre helps with digestion and regularity. Pulses typically contain about twice the amount of protein found in whole grain cereals like wheat, oats, barley and rice. Pulses provide important amounts of vitamins and mineral. Some of the key minerals in pulses include iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Pulses are also particularly abundant in B vitamins including folate, thiamin and niacin.
How do pulses affect you?
As a consumer, your decision of using pulses and pulse containing ingredients is your contribution towards a better greener planet.
In addition, you get all the health benefits pulses have to offer. The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 80% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes and over a third of cancers could be prevented by eliminating risk factors, such as unhealthy diets and promoting better eating habits, of which pulses are an essential component. Pulses can help lower blood cholesterol and attenuate blood glucose, which is a key factors in against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eating pulses as a replacement to some animal protein also helps limit the intake of saturated fats and increases the intake of fibres.