Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Keeping Our Finger on the Pulses

They’re affordable, nutritious and delicious. They even have their own dedicated day! Yet despite all the things going for pulses, millions of people don’t readily know what pulses are.

Essentially, pulses are the edible seeds of plants of the legume family, which include beans, peas and lentils. 

Have you ever tucked into a plate of hummus, dhal or a side of baked beans? If you have, you’ve had pulses!

What you may not have realized, however, is that not only have pulses been featured on dinner tables for thousands of years, many experts believe that these humble seeds could well hold the ticket to a more sustainable world, a more meat-free planet, and one without hunger.

Sustainability is very important to us at QNET. So it’s no surprise that we’re big fans of pulses. We also believe they’re one of the best foods for hardworking entrepreneurs to enjoy. 

So, in conjunction with World Pulses Day on 10 February, won’t you please join us in celebrating the world’s oldest superfood and all the ways pulses help Mother Earth and us?

They’re loaded with nutrients

Good nutrition is crucial for any entrepreneur to do their work well, and pulses are full of nutritious goodness.

Whether we’re talking about the humble lentil (one of the most common pulses) or the fancy velvet bean, pulses are all rich in vitamins and minerals that help the body fight against loads of illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. 

Importantly too, they’re low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, and, due to being packed with protein, are an excellent alternative to meat.

So why aren’t pulses more popular?

One criticism is that some beans can take way too long to cook. 

The truth is, however, that pulses are diverse. And while there certainly are beans that need to be cooked slowly over a fire, lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas can be prepared relatively quickly. Plus, there are many quick prep options, including canned legumes.

Oh, by the way, some people do complain about mild flatulence upon consuming pulses. But to quote the United Kingdom’s National Health Service: You should not let a bit of wind put you off eating pulses.

They’re climate-smart

We work hard so that we can have a brighter future, right? That’s why caring for the earth is also important to our business.

Unlike many other crops, pulses are climate-resilient and -adaptable. They also require a lot less water. 

This means that you can cultivate chickpeas or broad beans in both hot and cool climes. It also means that we could be on the way to ensuring food security.

Food security, as the Food and Agriculture Organization explains, is essentially about providing everyone, everywhere in the world, with sufficient and safe access to food

Unfortunately, while pulses make up the bulk of people’s diets in developing countries, more needs to be done because as it stands, about a billion people around the world still go hungry daily. 

They’re climate change mitigators

Besides being climate-resilient, pulses are unique in their ability to mitigate climate issues.

Legumes, basically, have the ability to capture a lot more carbon from the air than other plant species. Additionally, thanks to their unique root nodules, they help increase soil richness, thus dramatically cutting down the need for synthetic and polluting fertilisers.

Reducing pollutants aside, lentils, chickpeas, pigeon peas and the like are also capable of reversing soil erosion.

Heavy use and overdevelopment can reduce the ability of soil to absorb water during storms and floods. Where pulse cultivation helps is in restoring soil quality and health.

Pulses are economically sustainable and viable 

Many countries don’t consider pulses an especially popular crop. But the FAO and food sustainability advocates say it could be.

For example, India — which produces in excess of 20 million tonnes of pigeon peas, green beans and other legumes — is reaping huge economic benefits from pulses. And the best part is, unlike other crops, pulses are sustainable.

For example, pulses like chickpeas and lentils can be grown alongside other crops. This allows smallholder farmers to both diversify crops as well as profit from their sales.

Plus, crop residue from pulses makes good animal fodder!

So, pulses are not just good for us personally; they can also help our larger communities. Aren’t they amazing?

The bottom line here is that pulses and legumes are versatile and dynamic. But most of all, these humble beans and seeds offer a powerful means to more sustainability for our beloved planet, so that we can enjoy the fruits of our work for many more generations to come.

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