Pulses are very good for us, but unfortunately Australia has one of the lowest consumption rates of this fantastic group of foods. They are very high in protein â€“ as high as milk eggs and meat! However there is not the same mix of amino acids as in meat, however this should be no problem with a varied diet (surprise surprise).
They also contain many good minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and vitamins such as The B vitamins thiamine niacin and folate. If you sprout them you can increase their vitamin C by up to 400% with 1 cup of sprouts equalling 1 glass of Orange Juice and Vitamin A by 300% by sprouting.
Pulses are low in fat and are cholesterol free (except soy beans and peanuts) and the majority of fats in them are unsaturated, helping to lower bad cholesterol levels. They have a low glycaemic index (good for even blood sugar levels) and are gluten free (good for coeliac disease).
They are full of fibre â€“ which is one of the reasons they have the unfortunate blazing saddles gastric side-effect reputation. To avoid this, increase your fibre intake slowly, giving your body time to adjust. The good news is once your body is used to it, your unwanted gastric eruptions will decrease!!
Here are some common pulses, how long they take to cook and some nutritional info (per 100g raw):
986kj, 13g protein, 3.8g fat, 41g carbohydrate, 17g fibre. Soak overnight in 3 times their volume of water. Drain and add fresh water, boil 10min, then simmer 30-40min.
930kj, 14g protein, 0.4g fat, 44g carbohydrate, 8g fibre. Rinse and pick out stones/grit. Boil, skim off froth then simmer 30-45 min (Iâ€™d still say shorter)
1550kj, 27g protein, 2.5g fat, 58g carbohydrate, 10g fibre. Rinse, pick out stones/grit, bring to boil, then simmer, skimming off the froth 10 15min (Iâ€™d say shorter).
Red Kidney Bean:
1135kj, 17g protein, 0.9g fat, 52g carbohydrate, 22g fibre. Soak overnight, drain, rinse and boil in fresh water for 15 min, reduce heat and simmer 1-1.5 hours.
Haricot bean (aka Navy bean, the star of the baked bean can)
1206kj, 18g protein, 1g fat, 56g carbohydrate, 22g fibre. Soak for 2-3 hours. Drain, rinse, add fresh water, boil for 15min, then simmer, covered, for 1-1.5 hours.
Passion for Pulses, Nancy Longnecker