Pulses were one of the biggest food trends to come out of 2016, and we haven’t seen the last of them yet. If you aren’t sure what this protein-rich superfood is, keep reading.

Pulses are part of the legume family, and are better known as beans and lentils. Peas, chickpeas, lentils, and dried beans like kidney or navy beans all fall into the pulse category. Pulses are nutrition powerhouses, full of protein, fiber, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. A good source of plant-based protein, pulses can help with weight control, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and contribute to a healthy gut. Here are four more reasons why you should be eating this superfood.

They’re Cheap

Dried beans and lentils are less than $2 per pound, with a one pound bag producing 12 to 14 servings for an average of $0.16 per serving. Canned beans are slightly more expensive, at around $1.39 per can, which provides 3.5 servings or $0.40 per serving. Either way, pulses are a bargain compared to the price of other forms of protein.

They’re Versatile

Beyond your traditional beans and rice or chili, pulses can be used in side dishes, smoothies, breakfast burritos, salads, burgers, tacos, and even desserts. Use pulses to replace some (or all) of the meat in traditional burgers, sauces, or lasagnas and you’ll bump up the fiber and decrease the saturated fat content. Beans and lentils also make a tasty dip or spread when mashed or run through a food processor along with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and spices.

They’ll Help Keep You Full

Pulses are high in protein and fiber, which allows them to digest slowly. Slower digestion means you will stay full for longer, which can keep your appetite in check and help control your weight. The protein and fiber content is also linked to better blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduced risk of heart disease and colon cancer, and improved gut health.

They’re Sustainable

Pulses use significantly less water compared to other foods, especially meats, making them good for the planet. It can take anywhere from 800 to 1,000 gallons of water to raise one pound of meat, versus the 43 gallons of water to produce one pound of pulses. As the environmental impact of meat becomes more evident, plant-based meals made with pulses are a sustainable protein source.

How to Eat More Pulses

Pulses are available dried or canned. Dried lentils cook up quickly in just 10 to 20 minutes on the stove. Canned beans are a convenient, ready to use option that can be handy when you don’t have time to cook – just drain, rinse, and use! Dried pulses are easy to cook, but require soaking overnight. Check out this post for two easy ways to cook dried beans. Cooked pulses are a great addition to soups, salads, pasta, sauces, tacos or burritos, and dessert recipes.

Try these pulse recipes for more inspiration, and don’t forget to check out Luvo’s Planted Power Bowls!

Share your best pulse recipes with us in the comments section!

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