P.E.I. man gives in­ter­na­tional talk on hu­man health, legumes

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES/COMMUNITY -

A P.E.I. re­searcher was among the speak­ers dur­ing a re­cent gath­er­ing at a na­tional re­search in­sti­tute in In­dia.

Umesh C. Gupta, emer­i­tus re­search sci­en­tist, Agri­cul­ture and Agri-Food Canada, Char­lot­te­town, was an in­vited speaker at the In­dian In­sti­tute of Pulses Re­search, Kalyan­pur, Kan­pur.

The United Na­tions has de­clared 2016 as the In­ter­na­tional Year of Pulses. Speak­ing on the ef­fect of phy­to­chem­i­cals on hu­man health, Gupta ex­plained that pulses are among ma­jor sources of phyto chem­i­cals.

Re­search demon­strates that th­ese chem­i­cals pro­tect hu­mans against diseases. All phy­to­chem­i­cals act as an­tiox­i­dants; there­fore in­di­vid­u­als who have di­ets high in anti-ox­i­dant con­tain­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles ap­pear to have fewer risks for the de­vel­op­ment of chronic diseases.

Gupta ex­plained the in­sti­tute vis­ited is a ma­jor re­search cen­tre for pulses re­search in In­dia. Part of the legume fam­ily, pulse refers to the dried seed e.g., of peas, ed­i­ble beans, lentils and chick­peas which are the most com­mon va­ri­eties. They are rich in fi­bre and pro­tein and have high lev­els of min­er­als and sev­eral mem­bers of the vi­ta­min B com­plex fam­ily. Pulses are a ma­jor source of sup­ple­men­tary pro­tein to daily di­ets based on ce­re­als and starchy foods for a pre­dom­i­nantly vege­tar­ian pop­u­la­tion and for those who can’t af­ford ex­pen­sive meat pro­tein. Most pulses are typ­i­cally made up of 20 to 25 per cent pro­tein, 40 per cent starch, a small amount of fat and are of­ten re­garded as poor man’s meat. Like many legu­mi­nous crops, Gupta noted, pulses play a key role in crop ro­ta­tion due to their abil­ity to fix ni­tro­gen.

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