Best Health

BEST BITES: PULSES

Not every salad needs to start with greens. Why not make pulses your plus one? Recipes that start with beans, lentils or chickpeas will help reduce fat and sodium intake, while increasing protein and fibre. Translatio­n: A lowered risk for heart attack, st

- by ABBEY SHARP, RD | photograph­y by JAMES TSE food styling by ASHLEY DENTON | prop styling by LAURA BRANSON

One health powerhouse, two ways to eat it

THE INTERNATIO­NAL YEAR OF THE PULSE has come and gone, but when something is this nourishing, we say it’s worth celebratin­g any year, any day. Pulses refer to any beans, lentils, chickpeas or dried peas. They’re nutritiona­l powerhouse­s that are naturally low in fat and sodium, and are cholestero­l-free. With the new proposed Canada’s Food Guide moving away from its traditiona­l emphasis on animal proteins, we’re confident that pulses will have their permanent place in Canadians’ diets for decades to come.

And for good reason! One 2014 meta-analysis found that eating pulses for just three weeks significan­tly reduced LDL cholestero­l (that’s the bad stuff ), lowering the risk for heart attack and stroke. All it took was about cup each day, the equivalent of one food guide serving.

Pulses are also considered an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibre, with a cup providing a whopping 7-17 grams of the good stuff. A recent Harvard study found that dietary fibre was linked to a 40% lower risk of coronary heart disease in men. Fibre has also been shown to help reduce the risk of breast cancer, help keep us regular, and manage our weight since it keeps us feeling satiated longer.

And don’t forget about protein. Pulses typically contain about twice the amount of plant-based protein found in whole grains like wheat, oats, barley and rice.

A big bowl of chili or a classic bean salad is always a welcome way to pack in the pulses, but we’ve got some exciting dishes to switch things up. Meatless Monday? Bring it on!

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