There’s more to a Pulse than your Heart Beat.

Pulses and legumes are better for your health than you think and this year being the International Year of the Pulse I thought I would help you come to love them as much as they should be loved. Forget about them being the windy instrument… because apparently if you just start off small and gradually increase them in your diet over time they lose that effect on your body. The other tip is to make sure you wash the dried and canned ones a few times before using them.

Seriously though pulses and legumes, pulses are just the dried seeds, are exceptionally good for your health.

Among other things they:

  • Improve weight management
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Lower your chance of developing some forms of cancer

In fact in one study(1)  they found that eating 4 serves a week, instead of 1 serve a week, reduces your Coronary Heart disease risk by 22% and you Cardiovascular Disease risk by 11%

Legumes have been eaten in many cultures over time throughout the world, and are particularly linked to those cultures that have exceptional good health and longevity. So what is it about them that make them so good for us?

  • They have a low glycaemic index, which means that they release their energy slowly so you feel fuller for longer. This also means your blood sugar stays more stable without peaks and troughs helping you cut your cravings for snacks.
  • They are 40% protein and 36% fibre with the widest range of amino acids in them than anything else we eat.
  • They are also staggeringly good for the environment needing much less water to produce them than other forms of protein.
  • Farmers love them because they also fix nitrogen into the soil and are a natural herbicide particularly for potatoes

Listen to Sally Marchini. Accredited and Practising Dietitian. Sally talks us through what we should be eating everyday to be fit and healthy.

There are lots of different ways to cook with pulses and legumes. I’ve done a bit of searching and there are lots and lots of good recipes on the web. I love this one.

Next Level Vegan Enchiladas at

"Oh She Glows"

There are also some other yummy vegetarian recipes there.

We should be eating at least 2 – 3 serves a week

Easy Ways to add them to your diet....

  • Add some to a salad
  • Make a dip to have with some veggie sticks
  • Add soy drink to your breakfast cereal
  • Add them to soup

What about trying Meatless Monday to see how creative you can be?

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(1) NHANES Bazzano et al Arch. Internal Medicine 2001; 161 (21): 2573-8)
Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council

Want to know a little bit more about how your insides affect your outsides?

Listen to Rebecca Coomes from "The Healthy Gut" whilst she explains what having unhealthy insides can do to your life.

7 tips for Being in  The Best Shape for Your Life

Food to Fuel the Ferrari you Have Inside You

There are many complexities to what to eat and what is good for you. It can seem that it changes all the time, which of course it does as science evolves

  1. Eat fresh and organic as much as is practically possible
  2. If you don’t know exactly what's in something or you didn’t watch it being made then it probably has things in it you don’t  need.
  3. Eat a wide variety of food, or a rainbow everyday
  4. Eat complex carbohydrates and choose the least processed and freshest you can.
  5. Eat protein at every meal, but this should only take up a third of your plate
  6.  Include fat in your diet particularly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated
  7. Enjoy what you eat you only live once

Anti-inflammatory foods

There is emerging evidence about the role of foods that are though to be anti inflammatory. Your body has inflammatory responses all the time as it fights off the daily grime that we live in. The problem can be that this response can get out of control or we eat too many foods that stimulate this response and these can damage our bodies.

 There are also substances such as C Reactive proteins which are markers of inflammation. We know if we eat higher fibre diets, whole grains and fresh vegetables, particularly green ones and nuts we can reduce this. And hence reduce our risk of having a heart attack.

You might have heard of the Mediterranean diet. It is thought that the reason that this is so effective in reducing heart disease risk is because it relies on foods that are naturally anti inflammatory.

The key is to keep it clean and simple most of the foods thought to be inflammatory are not processed or altered in some way

This is why fish is recommended it is a great anti inflammatory food.

Nine Super foods you absolutely have to have

  1. Cruciferous vegetables
  2. Nuts
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Fish
  5. Beetroot
  6. Ginger and turmeric
  7. *Garlic and onions
  8. *Olive oil
  9. Berries

*These foods are thought to mimic the anti inflammatory drug Ibuprofen