Pulses are part of the food grain family known as legumes and include foods such as chickpeas, peas, lentils, beans and peanuts. Pulses are an important source of nutrition throughout the world but are not a common component of the typical Western diet, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Pulses are a good source of protein, fiber and essential nutrients, making them a healthy addition to your diet.
Good for Your Heart
Including more pulses in your diet may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Pulses are high in fiber. For example, a 1 cup serving of cooked lentils contains more than 15 g of fiber, meeting 60 percent of your daily value. The fiber in the pulses may improve heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. Pulses also are high in potassium. Including more potassium-rich foods in your diet can lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium.
Lower Risk of Diabetes
Pulses are a low-glycemic index food. The glycemic index ranks food on how it affects your blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index cause only a small rise in blood sugar, while foods with a high glycemic index cause a spike in blood sugar. People who include more low-glycemic foods in their diet have lower rates of diabetes. And if you already have diabetes, including pulses in your diet can make it easier for you to manage your blood sugar.