Pulses : the new trend of plant-based nutrition !!

Pulses : the new trend of plant-based nutrition !!

Pulses are an integral part of the ecosystem, contributing to sustainable agricultural development worldwide and ensuring food security—the reason for this: the valuable source of protein of plant origin. Legumes occupy a special place in various diets around the world. They are particularly important in developing countries as they are a rich source of proteins, metals (Ca, Fe, Cu, Zn, P, K and Mg), vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid) and water-soluble fibres. Therefore, and based on the above, the increase in the cultivation of pulses to cover the daily human diet seems to be a one-way street.

Greek Pulses / Legumes & Rice, key ingredients of Mediterranean Diet

From "the poor man's meat", which is still valid, we have moved on to the rapidly growing trend of plant-based nutrition based on the properties of legumes. The main factors driving this trend are:

a) increasing urbanisation,

b) consumer interest in sustainable and plant-based protein products,

c) awareness of the health claims that characterise them and d) changing the way consumers live because of accuracy.

According to Menus of Change's definition, plant-based nutrition is a way of cooking that highlights, without limitations, foods from plant sources of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, oils, legumes – and reflects principles of health and sustainability based on measurable data. A more direct explanation from Yale University states that if the dish contains protein, the first choice is a plant-based protein. At the same time, if it includes animal-based protein, it is not at the centre but rather complementary.

Greek Pulses / Legumes & Rice, key ingredients of Mediterranean Diet

Nutritional value

Eating more legumes as part of a healthy diet can help lower blood sugar and blood pressure. Legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, fava beans) contain antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and fight disease and ageing. Their nutritional value is similar to meat but with lower levels of iron and no saturated fat. Fibre and other nutrients benefit the digestive system and help prevent digestive tract cancer. Although they have few calories, their fibre and proteins cover the feeling of hunger and provide constant energy for the body, brain and nervous system.

Greek Pulses / Legumes & Rice, key ingredients of Mediterranean Diet

Legumes in Mediterranean dishes

In Greek cuisine, legumes are permanently fixed in the weekly schedule. Apart from the references to the diet of the Ancient Greeks, they are an integral part of our culinary heritage and occupy a prominent position in the Mediterranean diet pyramid. We are familiar with their flavours and include them in our daily diet, but we only prefer them when going out a few years ago. Modern food trends bring homemade recipes to the fore. Dishes, until recently "homemade" are being transformed into "restaurant" dishes, putting the search for better quality raw material in the first place, with an emphasis on locality. Legumes, broad bean stew, lentils with smoked herring, chickpeas, plaki giants, fasolada, fava pantremeni and other traditional recipes inspire young chefs who now include them in their menus.

 Bon appetite !! - Kali orexi !! 

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