May 20th, 2018

From Our Table: Pulses may be tiny, but are packed with power

By Medicine Hat News on January 16, 2018.

Well here we are already halfway through the first month of the new year 2018. I hope your health goals are on track and you are treating yourself like gold. We only get one body to get through life with so it’s really smart to look after it well

I want to spend a few columns talking about some of my favourite things. One of those thing are the tiny but powerfully packed pulses.

Pulses are the dry edible seeds of plants in the legume family. They include chickpeas, lentils, dry peas and beans. Pulses have many benefits.

They are full of fibre. Most pulses have up to or even more than seven grams per half cup serving.

Pulses are packed with plant based proteins. A half cup serving has up to nine grams of protein.

They are rich in potassium (one serving of dry peas contains as much as a banana) magnesium, zinc and iron.

Pulses are naturally gluten-free.

They are low in fat with only one gram in a serving and absolutely no cholesterol

Pulses are an excellent source of folate with three-times more in a serving than kale.

Because they are rich in fibre and protein plus low in fat they help you feel fuller longer which helps to maintain a healthy body weight.

Research shows that pulses are a heart healthy food because they can lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and help manage body weight, all risk factories for heart disease.

Pulses are a source of prebiotic fibre which is the food of choice for our gut bacteria keeping it very healthy.

Because pulses are a complex carbohydrate your body works harder to digest them which means not only do you burn more calories you also avoid post meal blood sugar crashes related to eating simple carbohydrates. This helps to manage blood sugar levels especially important for people with diabetes.

They are extremely low cost as a protein source and are very versatile and can be used in a wide array of recipes.

Pulses are very easy to cook and most importantly they are delicious!

So you can see these little pulses truly are a powerhouse food with so many benefits. They are also a proud Canadian success story with our country being the largest pulse exporter in the world and the largest producer of lentils and peas.

Here’s a recipe that will warm you from top to tip this winter and give you that powerhouse of pulse nutrient benefits to boot. Stay warm this chilly winter.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Pasta Fagioli Soup

2/3 cup dried navy beans

2/3 cup dried kidney beans

1 lb ground Italian sausage (leave out to make it vegetarian)

1/2 of a medium onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced or crushed

4 cups chicken broth

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes undrained

2 celery stalks diced

2 carrots peeled and sliced

1 cup ditalini (a type of pasta shaped like small tubes) pasta or small pasta of choice, boiled until just tender.

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese for topping

1. Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight or for 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse. Put beans in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat simmering for 1 hour. Stir occasionally until beans are cooked through and tender.

2. Sauté sausage with onions and garlic.

3. Place all ingredients into your slow cooker except for the cooked pasta and cook covered on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours. Stir in pasta 15-30 minutes before serving.

4. Serve in bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

To make this recipe gluten free use gluten free chicken broth. Read the ingredient list. For example, Campbell’s tetra pack has wheat in it. Also use gluten free pasta.

For more great recipes go to Pulse Canada or http://www.pulses.org. You can even join “The Half Cup Habit” Challenge.

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