Waitrose - UAE Grocery Deliver

Waitrose - UAE Grocery Deliver

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Eat more pulses

  • Food
  • 14.11.22
Words Waitrose 14/11/22

So what are pulses? They’re edible seeds that grow in pods, and include all types of tinned or dried beans, lentils and peas: think chickpeas, red kidney beans, butter beans, black-eyed beans, cannellini beans, green, yellow and brown lentils… the list goes on, but they are all part of the legume family. Pulses are dried before they are eaten – so fresh peas and beans are legumes; dried peas and beans are pulses.

Pulses might be small, but they are truly mighty when it comes to nutrition. “They’re an incredible source of protein and fibre, and they are also low in fat,” says registered dietitian Rosie Martin. “Pulses may help protect against conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and bowel cancer, and they can also help us manage our weight more easily.” The World Cancer Research Fund, which recommends the consumption of foods “mostly of plant origin”, advises including them at every meal.

Take a fresh look at lentils and check back in with chickpeas – bean cuisine is where it’s at.”

Pulses have been shown to reduce levels of ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, and are a great source of iron, with lentils containing slightly more than beans or peas; a 125g serving of cooked brown or green lentils provides just over 15% of a woman’s, and more than a quarter of a man’s, daily iron needs. They’re also a delicious way of getting your zinc, important for immunity – a 125g serving of chickpeas provides around 15% of your daily recommendation.

The humble pulse is also one of the highest fibre foods – 125g of any variety provides one quarter of your daily needs. Research continues to show the importance of fibre on digestive health. Pulses contain fermentable fibres which provide a food source for ‘good’ gut bacteria.

The humble pulse is also one of the highest fibre foods – 125g of any variety provides one quarter of your daily needs.”

Trying to cut down on meat? Pulses also do a great job of providing the protein your body needs. There’s 8-9g in half a can (around 125g drained weight) of any variety, about one fifth of what a woman and one sixth of what a man needs each day. It is worth noting that many plant proteins do not contain a complete amino acid profile (the building blocks of protein), in the way that animal proteins do; you’ll need to eat a variety and combine pulses with grains – such as dhal and rice – to ensure you tick off all the amino acids you need.

On top of all these benefits for your body, there’s the fact that swapping animal-based products in favour of pulses is better for the planet. It helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water supply. Pulses don’t need artificial fertilisers; they can even improve the quality of the soil they are grown in. They’re also a deliciously affordable food source – and their powerful combination of protein and fibre means they are digested slowly, making you feel fuller for longer.

Not sure where to start? Just look around the world to see how delicious pulses can be. Whether you’re filling quesadillas with black beans and cheese, scooping up houmous or simmering a cassoulet, pulses are endlessly versatile. And don’t worry – baked beans still count.

Pulses are endlessly versatile. And don’t worry – baked beans still count.”


1. Roast chickpeas with spices to make a nutritious snack or salad topper: mix with a little oil and favourite crushed spices, such as cumin and coriander seeds, paprika and chilli flakes.

2. Blend cooked pulses with roasted vegetables such as sweet potato, beetroot, squash or carrots (plus tahini, lemon juice and olive oil) for delicious dips.

3. Add cooked lentils or pulses to warm salads with roasted shallots, lots of herbs, root vegetables, and sharp mustardy dressings – great on their own or with roasted meats or cauliflower cheese.

4. Simmer cooked pulses in stews, soups and saucy dishes to bolster their protein content and absorb the flavours of the sauce or broth (this can also stretch out the meat in a ragù).

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