Pulses include beans, lentils and peas. They are a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and they count towards your recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.
A pulse is an edible seed that grows in a pod. Pulses include all beans, peas and lentils, such as:
- baked beans
- red, green, yellow and brown lentils
- chickpeas (chana or garbanzo beans)
- garden peas
- black-eyed peas
- runner beans
- broad beans (fava beans)
- kidney beans, butter beans (Lima beans), haricots, cannellini beans, flageolet beans, pinto beans and borlotti beans
Why eat pulses?
Pulses are a great source of protein. This means they can be particularly important for people who do not get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products.
However, pulses can also be a healthy choice for meat-eaters. You can add pulses to soups, casseroles and meat sauces to add extra texture and flavour. This means you can use less meat, which makes the dish lower in fat and cheaper.
Pulses are a good source of iron.
Pulses are also a starchy food and add fibre to your meal. Eating a diet high in fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Pulses are often bought in tins. If you buy tinned pulses, check the label and try to choose ones that have no added salt or sugar.