Pulses are dried and edible seeds of legume cultivations, from the family of peas, beans and lentils. Pulses have their origins both from ancient times Old and New worlds from archeological findings. They stand in the earliest domestication of plants, with their arrival around 10,000BC. It was the same time of the arrival of cereals.
The word pulses come from Latin word puls, meaning thick cap or pottage. Pulses belong to a large family, with different species and able to survive in different soils and climates.
Cultivation of pulses is almost common in all parts of the world. They are significant part of human diet. It is most prevalent on East side in comparison to the Western world. Especially in for vegetarians in India, pulses serve as the primary source of energy and proteins.
Food value of Pulses
Pulses are contains high amounts proteins, higher than all the other plants. As pulses are of low costs, they serve as a great source of protein for a large group of people. This bought pulses into the category of poor man’s meat. Pulses have low moisture and hard seed coat which benefits for long storages. People also grow pulses for unripe seeds and the green edible pods.
The immature fruits have different properties from the mature seeds. For example, immature seeds are rich in soluble carbohydrates and vitamins with lower protein content.
Leaves and shoots of the crops make good potherbs.
Below are nutritional contents of pulses. They are same in all the pulses with the exception of soya been, where the nutritional amounts change.
- Protein content – 20% to 28 % per100 gm. Soya been – 47%
- Carbohydrate – 60% per 100gm. Soya been – 30%
- Phosphorous – 300mg per 100gm
- Calcium – 140mg per 100gm
- Iron – 8mg per 100gm
- Niacin – 2mg per 100gm
- Thiamin – 0.5mg per 100gm
- Riboflavin – 0.3gm per 100gm
Pulses contain on average of 345kcal of energy per 100gm.
Health benefits of Pulses
Nutritional values of pulses are similar to those of whole cereal grains.
Pulses are rich in lysine, but the amino acids of pulse protein contain low sulfur. They are a good source of vitamin B with exceptions of riboflavin. Combining pulses and cereals in diet or food have greater nutritional value like animal proteins.Large amounts of ascorbic acid form in germination process, which does not make much difference even after being devoid of vitamin C. Thus, sprouted pulses are a good remedy for scurvy. In African and Asian hospitals, sprouted pulses to menus giving them importance when fruits and vegetables are expensive or scarce.
Most part of the vitamins in harvested seeds are available in the pulses. Therefore there is no comparable loos with that arise in milling and cooking of cereals. Hence, it acts a great preventive measure from beriberi.
Pulses are among the class of foods, where digestion and absorption of nutrients is complete. In case, of gastro-intestinal or stomach disorders, it may be incomplete. Hence, a small quantity of proper cooked pulses is advisable.
Uses of Pulses
Pulses are the most common form of food in varied forms. Pulses, decorticated, dehusked and whole seeds make Dhal, a primary part of Indian diet. Dehusked and decorticated ones are in easy forms of digestion in relative to the whole seeds.
Pulses are also available in the form of flours. They are Bengal gram, black gram and green gram. Pulse flour, mixed with cereal flour is a common ingredient for chapattis and other preparations.
Eating sprouting or germinated seeds and young seedlings is a widespread practice. Sprout seeds contain high amounts of nutritious value than the dried sprouts or embryo. During sprouting process, there is a substantial increase of proteins, vitamins and minerals, which also the decrease the carbohydrate and calorie content.
In the sprouting process, enzymes break the nutritious components into more simple forms. It also facilitates other actions for easy and healthy digestion.
- Starch into maltose and dextrin
- Proteins into peptides, polypeptides, and amino acids
- Phosphorous liberates from phytate
- Bound iron into readily assimilable form
- After 48 hours of germination Vitamin C or ascorbic acid contents rise to 12mgs per 100gms
- Significant increase in the content of riboflavin and niacin
Pulses are the healthiest and easy source of nutritious substances. They are in this world for quite a long time. Yet, the importance is still the same as it was during the ancient times.
The main reason is their easy from of digestion, instant absorption of nutritious substances and no hassle. We do not have to spend our time in cooking or processing the pulses. Sprouting, as mentioned earlier is the one of the efficient way of consuming pulses. Not only sprouting, even pulses flour is also effective.
So, why not add the most simple and healthiest source to regular diet?