The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Pulses, also known as grain legumes, are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils. They are high in protein, fiber, and various vitamins, provide amino acids and are hearty crops. They are most popular in developing countries but are increasingly becoming recognized as an excellent part of a healthy diet throughout the world.

The IYP 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. The Year will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chain that would better utilize pulse-based proteins, further global production of pulses, better utilize crop rotations and address the challenges in the trade of pulses.

Let’s eat more pulses this year! New, innovative food products featuring pulses are popping up on store shelves every day. A total of 3,593 new products were launched in the European Union over the January 2010 to July 2014 period that utilized pulse ingredients. Did you know, for instance, that there are many varieties of pulses pastas? Their flavor is reminiscent of “regular” pastas, and your body will be a fan because they pack far more nutrients than traditional noodles and are easier on the waistline, too.

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