There are more than 13,000 varieties worldwide. Ecological and economical, pulses have many virtues in their pods! Nutritional treasures to put more often on the menu.
What are they ?
From the fabaceae family, legumes more commonly known as pulses are made up of lentils (green, blond, coral, black), beans (white, red, black), peas (chick, split), broad beans, soybeans . These are the seeds of plants that are harvested at maturity and are extracted from their pod. Once dried, they can be stored for a very long time.
They should not be confused with cereals (rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, etc.).
What are their main strengths?
Pulses are very rich in fibers beneficial for satiety, for efficient intestinal transit, a drop in fasting cholesterol levels, a diversified microbiota. They are low in fat and their fatty acids are of good quality. They have a high nutritional density with a good amount of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus. And they are gluten-free, which is great for intolerant people.
Is their iron easily assimilated?
The presence of phytic acid in legumes limits the absorption of vegetable iron.
To promote this assimilation, simply add vitamin C to them: lemon juice, parsley or food that is rich in it such as carrots, peppers or broccoli.
Are they enough to replace meat?
Legumes can be good alternatives to meat, as they are generous in vegetable protein. But for this, it is essential to combine them with cereals during the same meal or the same day in order to ensure a good supply of essential amino acids. Moreover, this is what is naturally done in certain countries where we find chickpeas and semolina, lentils and rice, red beans and corn.
What is the recommended amount?
The National Health Nutrition Plan (PNNS) recommends consuming legumes at least twice a week. Traditionally, they are rather confined to winter specialties. But to increase their consumption, they can also be prepared cold in a salad with raw vegetables or lacto-fermented vegetables, in a soup to thicken it instead of potatoes which have a high glycemic index, in the form of a savory spread with as an aperitif or accompanied by a salad, even integrated into desserts, which is surprising but delicious!
Should we avoid them to keep the line?
Quite the contrary! The glycemic index of legumes is low, which is particularly suitable for diabetics or overweight people. Indeed, the increase in the blood sugar level will be done slowly, which avoids the strong secretions of insulin which end up favoring the storage of fats.
On the other hand, their good fiber and protein content plays an essential role in satiety and makes them foods that reduce cravings between meals. Good allies for the line provided of course not to abuse it!
How to make them more digestible?
The major disadvantage of legumes is digestive intolerance with intestinal discomfort and flatulence. To limit these negative effects, simply soak the seeds in cold water (8 a.m. to 12 p.m.in other words in the morning for the evening or the day before for the next day) and to rinse them well before cooking.
Another solution: pregermination. After soaking overnight and rinsing, leave the pulses in a bowl at room temperature for about three days (until the appearance of a small germ), without forgetting to rinse them morning and evening.
Should we prefer them dry, canned or frozen?
Pulses need to manage the cooking time: depending on the variety and the size (chickpeas), you have to count on average 45 to 60 mins. On the other hand, ten minutes are enough for coral lentils to be cooked!
Many legumes are available in cans, jars or frozen allowing them to be cooked quickly, which is a real advantage. However, canned or jarred, the amount of salt is often higher; to be checked especially in people with hypertension and always rinse them before use. As for the proteins and fibers, they are diluted in the canned water and the legumes are a little less qualitative. Frozen foods are a good alternative.