Health Benefits of Pulses

Sanaz Baradaran, a recent graduate from Ryerson’s Nutrition and Food program has started her career as a Registered Dietitian. Sanaz discusses various health and nutrition topics. For more information, be sure to check out Sanaz’s Facebook Page:




Pulses are one of the most popular food trends this year and I happen to be a big fan.
As a child, I never liked pulses. Even as an adult, I always tried to avoid them! Being a dietitian and learning about all the benefits of pulses, I’ve found ways to include them in my diet without hating them … in fact, I enjoy eating pulses! In another post, I will share with you some of those strategies. Today, however, I want to share with you a summary of the most recent research on pulses. I hope that this convinces you to try to include them in your daily diet.
1. Pulses have desirable impact on blood pressure and blood cholesterol
  • a number of studies show that cooked beans lower circulating LDL cholesterol (this is the “undesirable” cholesterol)
  • including a good amount of pulses in your daily diet may help in lowering blood pressure
  • high LDL levels and high blood pressure are both risk factors for heart diseases – this means that pulses could serve to protect you against heart disease
2. Pulses help control blood sugar levels, which is specially important for people with diabetes
  • pulses have a “low glycemic index” – this means that the carbohydrate content of pulses is slowly broken down and released into the blood, causing a very gradual increase in blood sugar levels
  • low glycemic index food items are great choices for those concerned with controlling their blood sugar levels (such as those who have diabetes)
3. Pulses promote satiety
  • pulses help you feel full, which makes them a great choice, specially for those who are trying to lose weight
4. Pulses have a positive impact on intestinal health
  • the high fibre content of pulses promotes gastrointestinal health
  • some studies have shown that pulses protect individuals from ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowl disease)
  • pulses also contribute to healthy gut microbiomes (i.e. bacteria in the gut) – there is a lot of research being done in this area which supports the importance of a healthy gut microbiota
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