Pulses, also known as legumes, are high in protein, fibre and minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
In Australia, the most commonly grown pulses are chickpeas, faba or broad beans, peas, lentils, lupin and mung beans.
Also popular are kidney beans, soy beans, peanuts, and even wattle seeds, which are considered pulses as well. Pulses contain resistant starches, which help keep the bowel healthy by:
- Lowering the pH of the colon – to prevent damage in the colon lining
- Producing short chain fatty acids (SCFA) acetate, propionate and butyrate which give a healthy food supply to colon cells
- Reducing inflammation in the colon, reducing risk of DNA damage and possibly reducing the risk of cancer (along with other factors).
To keep the bowel healthy, it’s best to eat pulses cooked then cooled. If you eat them hot the starch is not resistant to stomach acid and they will get digested and you will lose most of the healthy benefits.
Reference: Bowel Cancer Australia, 5 Foods That May Help Protect Against Cancer.