A Healthy Pulse

Did you know that the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses? They're not talking about the kind you check on your wrist, although there is a strong connection between pulses and heart health. The UN's pulses refer to dry grain crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas – and they are one of the most nutritious, least expensive and most versatile foods going.​

The list of health benefits these superfoods offer seems endless – and particularly relevant for seniors. Here are just a few of the plusses of pulses:

  • They are very high in both soluble and insoluble fibers, which means they can help lower blood cholesterol levels and also aid digestion and maintain regular bowel movements.  Also, since fiber-rich foods are more filling, they can help with calorie and portion control.
  • They have a low glycemic index, which means they can help regulate blood sugars.
  • They are an excellent source of folate, which helps fight against plaque buildup and blood clots leading to heart attack and stroke.
  • They are gluten-free, but provide starch, fiber, protein, and many vitamins and minerals that may be lacking from a gluten-free diet.

  • When eaten along with other grains and vegetables, they are a good source of protein.

Pulses are also relatively easy to incorporate into a senior diet, particularly during the winter months because they can be used in soups, stews (such as this one with chickpeas and vegetables), casseroles and other recipes. And, because you can buy them by the can or in bulk and keep them for long periods of time, they are great pantry staples for seniors who may not be able to get to the store for fresh food all the time.

We think the International Year of Pulses is a great opportunity to add more nutrition and diversity into everyone's diets and we are looking forward to discovering new ways to cook for our clients and our own families. Do you have any favorite pulse dishes you'd like to share?

For more information about helping seniors and their caregivers live healthier lifestyles, please contact us!


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