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