It's time to get ready for World Pulses Day - a day to celebrate the role of lentils, beans, and chickpeas in sustaining communities across the world. This event has been marked annually by the United Nations General Assembly since 2018.
Celebrated on Feb 10th, World Pulses Day is a date dedicated to raising public awareness of the nutritional benefits and sustainability of these dry, edible plant seeds of the legume family. Countries across the world, from Peru to Japan, are celebrating with their own events. For example, in the United States, the illustration website TDAC has partnered with the U.S. Dry Bean Council to host a drawing competition to promote beans of all shapes and sizes!
Five things you might not know about pulses
We've been eating them for a long time. Pulses have been in our diet for thousands of years. Archaeological remains in modern-day Turkey suggest that farmers grew chickpeas and lentils as far back as 7000 - 8000 B.C.!
They have four times more fiber than brown rice. A diet rich in fiber will help reduce heart disease risk.
They contain three times more folate than kale. During periods of rapid development, such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence, adequate folate intake becomes even more critical.
They are the best health bargain you'll find at the grocery store. According to a University of Washington study, pulses give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to the nutrient-to-price ratio. That means that if you want the most nutrients for the least amount of money, pulses are the way to go.
They are an environmentally-friendly crop. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture mostly come from nitrogen fertilizers. But pulse crops can turn nitrogen in the air into a type of nitrogen used by plants. This ability gives pulses the status of 'nitrogen-fixing crops', requiring much less in the way of fertilizer and dramatically lowering their carbon footprint.
No matter how you celebrate, be sure to use the hashtag #WorldPulsesDay to share your delicious creations with friends and family online. This encourages others to learn about the endless nutritional and environmental benefits of these superfoods.
As the world grapples with food insecurity issues and the effects of mass meat consumption on climate, World Pulse Day will likely be observed for many years to come. So, this Feb 10th, why not grab a handful and get involved?