What makes pulses unique?

2016 é o Ano Internacional dos Legumes.
2016 é o Ano Internacional dos Legumes.

2016 has been announced as the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations.They assigned the task to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the entity in charge of bringing the celebration closer to goverments, nation states and non government organizations too.

The objectives to be accomplished here are as follows, first, to raise awareness of the important role of veggies as safe, nutritious , healthy and easy food and environmentally friendly to grow. second, to promote the value and the consumption of veggies, their benefits related to the soil fertility and to combat the climate change and malnutrition. Lastly, to encourage the links within the food chain to increase vegetables production and foster the research about crop rotation and the challenges ahead in the vegetables trade.

The question is then: Why this produce? What makes vegetables so unique and so highly regarded worldwide? We will put forward some arguments which make lentils, kidney beans and many hundreds of other crops belonging to the pulses family that have earned them a name.

Os Legumes son unha alternativa nas dietas das poboacións máis empobrecidas.
Os Legumes son unha alternativa nas dietas das poboacións máis empobrecidas.

The first reason why veggies are very nutritious is that some veggies like pulses contain at least double the proteins than whole grain cereals, for instance. When one combines them with foods rich in vitamin C, their high content of iron makes them a powerful food.  Especially for those people who usually have anemia.  They also contain folate, which reduces the risk of neural pipe defects. They are also rich in minerals such as magnesium and potassium as well as phosphorus. Since they have a low glycemic (fat) content and a high fiber content , they’re suitable for diabetics.

Moreover, a research conducted by the University of Manitoba (Canadá) points out that the regular ingestion of veggies like pulses will control and combat obesity. “They have a lot of health benefits. They help maintain the sugar level steady in your blood stream. Better recipe for cholesterol and diabetes so far.” says Marcela Villareal, Office and Association Line Manager for the  FAO.

The FAO strongly recommend eating at least 400g of fruit and vegetables per day, including all greens. Lately, vegetables consumption in our households has slumped dramatically.  The average Spaniard eats daily only about 12 g of veggies per day, less than half the recommended level by the Spanish Endocrinology and Nutrition Association  (SEEN) which accounts for only 2 to 4 rations of vegetables per week  (25-45 g per day).


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