Pulses: Meaning, Types, and Health Benefits

Pulses have gained popularity as a staple crop for those who try to avoid animal products while eating healthy. They have several advantages over other foods. The regular consumption of pulses is associated with lower rates of heart disease and diabetes.

Are you a vegan looking for a healthy protein source? Well, you should try including different varieties of pulses in your diet. Pulses can be red, green, yellow, or brown, and they can be of any shape or size.

There are hundreds of varieties of pulses grown around the world, but lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and pinto beans are among the most popular. It is possible to buy them fresh or dried, cook them with other foods or eat them on their own.

Pulses contain high levels of protein, dietary fiber, folate, and other nutrients. They also contain vitamins and minerals. Pulses can be cooked in many ways – boiled or steamed to make soups and stews; ground into flour for breads; or eaten as a texture in salads.

Many dishes, ranging from Indian dals to Italian pasta sauces, are built on pulses. In addition, pulses are less environmentally damaging than animal-based proteins.

There are several environmental benefits associated with beans pulses, including reduced water usage and reduced energy consumption for processing. They also grow rapidly without requiring much fertilizer.

Let us examine the benefits of pulses for your health and the different types of pulses.

What are Pulses?

Pulse is directly derived from the Latin word puls, meaning “a thick, porridge-like substance”. Pulses are a collection of 12 crops that include beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils. A wide range of environments are suited to pulses, because they withstand drought and are resistant to frost. In addition to improving food security, beans and pulses help to enhance food security due to their long storage life and high nutritional value.

There is a high demand for pulses around the globe. Their high protein content makes them a favorite of vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters alike. Veggies who don’t consume meat products benefit greatly from pulses. In addition to providing protein and fibre, legumes are a good source of calcium as well. They are also rich in iron and various vitamins. As pulses do not contain cholesterol or saturated fat, they are much healthier than animal meat. You must eat pulses regularly to lower cholesterol levels.

History of Pulses

Pulses have been consumed and grown by people for more than 11,000 years. Approximately 10,000 years ago, legumes were being cultivated in the Middle East, indicating man was already aware that pulses were good to eat when soaked, cooked, fermented, and sprouted. There is evidence of lentil cultivation in Egyptian pyramids, and dried pea seeds have been found in a Swiss village dating back to Stone Age times. In the eastern Mediterranean region and Mesopotamia, peas are thought to have been cultivated at least 5,000 years ago, and in Britain their cultivation began in the 11th century.

The cultivation of pulses by farmers in India dates back over 4000 years. Toor dal, urad dal, moong dal, moth bean, and chana dal are the popular types of pulses in India. Many other legumes were brought into India, and some are still imported. A growing world population will
need a steady source of healthy, sustainable protein, and world pulse production can double by 2050.

Health Benefits of Pulses

  • High in nutrients – Each bean has a slightly different nutrition profile. Despite this, they contain high protein levels, a lot of fibre, powerful antioxidants, and an abundance of other nutrients. Here are the amazing health benefits you can derive by consuming
    pulses regularly.
  • Rich source of protein – People should eat pulses as part of their daily diet in order to stay healthy. Pulses are crucial to repairing and maintaining the human body. They contain amino acids, which are essential for building proteins. Hence, pulses are a preferred choice for vegetarians.
  • High in antioxidants – Pulses, beans, and lentils are packed with polyphenols, which help prevent free radical damage. As a result of metabolic processes, humans produce damaging chemicals, and antioxidants help to combat those effects. Free radicals can damage the body and result in disease. The antioxidant in pluses and lentils helps to eliminate free radicals.
  • Good for the heart – You can eat lentils and pulses regularly and they are extremely healthy for you. They are nutrient-rich and contain fewer empty calories than junk foods. The benefits of these foods include lowering the level of bad cholesterol in the body and therefore improving heart health. This prevents cholesterol-induced heart disease and decreases the risk of a heart attack. A lot of pulses and dals contain a lot of potassium and a little sodium, so they help control blood pressure.
  • Prevents diabetes – By consuming pulses on a regular basis, you can lower your blood glucose level and prevent diabetes. Consuming pulses lowers blood sugar levels. In particular, lentils and pulses are often low in glycemic index. In other words, they don't
    cause blood sugar levels to spike after meals. Consuming these types of food regularly can help diabetics control their blood sugar levels.
  • Aids digestion and weight loss – As a result of consuming pulses, lentils, and beans, the fiber and proteins, healthy starches produce a feeling of satisfaction. It could reduce risk of eating too much and also assist in weight loss as part of a dietary plan. It may seem surprising, but pulses contain four times as much fiber as brown rice. Additionally, pulses are a rich source of prebiotic fiber, a preferred food for gut bacteria, which contributes to better gut health.
  • Supports body growth – You can get a range of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from pulses. Vegetarians can substitute them for seafood and animal products. Children need a healthy diet at this stage of their lives, especially in their growing years. To get enough
    energy and grow properly, children and adolescents must eat a balanced diet. Pulses should be a regular part of the diet of any child who is underweight, weak or prone to illness.

The Wide Array of Pulses From SITCO

Red, Yellow, Green And Brown Lentils –

Lentils are a staple of vegetarian cuisine. They are available in a wide range of colors. Red lentils differ from all the others in two ways. Firstly, they need a shorter cooking time than any other type. Secondly, they become mushy when cooked. The brown lentil is probably the most commonly used variety in cooking. Their flavor is mild and earthy, and their shape will not change when cooked. Brown lentils are available in different sizes. Green lentils are peppery and firm. Since they are firmer, you'll have to cook them a few minutes longer than brown lentils. The lentils are low in calories and are packed with polyphenols.

Chickpeas , Chana/Garbanzo Beans –

Chickpeas are legumes with a nutty and creamy texture. Although chickpeas have recently become more popular, they have been grown in Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years. Their nutty flavor pairs well with a wide variety of foods and ingredients. Chickpeas contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber, contributing to reducing cardiovascular disease risk, improving digestion, and assisting in weight loss. It is a popular variety among the Indian pulses.

The high protein content of chickpeas makes them an excellent meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans. Chickpeas, dried or canned, have a very low glycemic index. This makes them digest more slowly. For people with diabetes, this keeps their blood sugar and insulin levels
from spiking too quickly throughout the day.

Black-Eyed Peas –

The black-eyed pea belongs to the legume family. While they originated in West Africa, they now grow throughout the world in warm regions. The black-eyed pea gets its name from its appearance. Cream in color, they have a small black speck at the center that resembles an eye and marks the area where they were once attached to pods. These pulses beans are available in both canned and dried forms.

Its strong, savory flavor makes black-eyed peas popular both in traditional Indian and Southern cuisine. The black eyed pea is high in nutrition and a great staple food. A black eyed pea is loaded with fiber and protein, making it an excellent source of energy.

Garden Peas –

The garden pea belongs to the legume family of plants, which produces pods containing seeds. Over the centuries, they have played an essential role in human nutrition. Its edible seeds are grown worldwide as a garden pea plant. Its crunchy seeds can be eaten raw or
cooked in a variety of dishes.

Moreover, green peas are rich in complex carbohydrates called starches, which makes them a starchy vegetable just like potatoes, corn, and squash. In addition to being quite nutritious, they contain fiber and antioxidants. Further, research suggests they can help prevent some chronic illnesses, like heart disease and cancer.

Runner Beans –

Runner beans are legumes native to South America. They have a pale green color and a rough exterior. They are usually larger and flattened, and have a more robust flavour than French beans. Although their skins are rough, cooking pulses will soften them. There is a distinct flavor to these beans. Although green beans contain few calories, they contain many nutrients that can be beneficial to your health.

These beans contain antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals. Because free radicals damage your cells, eating legumes may help you avoid certain health problems. Green beans are also packed with fiber. Soluble fiber improves the health of your heart by lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. It also keeps your digestive system in good working order.

Butter Beans –

Butter beans, also known as lima beans, are ivory colored and have flat shapes. The beans have a creamy, buttery texture when cooked, and are larger than most other beans. Butter beans come in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. The high fibre content of butter beans can help you feel full for longer periods of time. Furthermore, soluble fibre dissolves in your digestive system, causing a gel-like substance that slows down the digestion process. The process aids in weight loss.

For vegans, butter beans are a perfect plant-based protein source. A diet rich in butter beans can help prevent some types of anemia. Their folate content is high and helps to make red blood cells. This is needed to make normal red blood cells as well as to convert carbohydrates
into energy. Butter beans also contain iron, which is used by your body to create haemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout your body.

Kidney Beans –

Kidney beans are a type of bean that resembles the kidney in appearance and color. Boiling these beans gives them a reddish brown color and a mild flavor, but they can easily be flavored with any seasoning of choice. A Kidney beans diet has a number of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and increasing gut bacteria. They are rich in folic acid, calcium, carbohydrates, fibre, and protein, among other essential nutrients.

Blood sugar levels can aggravate chronic diseases like heart attacks. Maintaining a moderate level of protein and fiber is important, so kidney beans should also be part of the diet. Kidney beans contain a low glycemic index, which lowers your chances of becoming diabetic.

Haricots –

Haricots, also known as white beans, are a versatile food. The oval, flattened beans have a thin, white skin that is edible. By reducing "bad" cholesterol levels in the blood, these foods reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and even diabetes.

Dry haricot beans are very high in fiber, a key component to lowering cholesterol levels. The high fiber content of these vegetables makes them particularly beneficial for controlling blood sugar disorders since it prevents the surge in blood sugar levels after a meal. These beans
contain iron, which promotes healthy blood cell production. Potassium helps regulate fluids in the body, while vitamin B6 helps metabolism.

Cannellini Beans –

Known as white kidney beans, cannellini beans have a creamy texture, a fluffy appearance, and a mild flavor when cooked. They are found in a variety of Italian dishes. Cannellini beans are a good source of protein and can help you meet your daily protein requirements. Cannellini beans are high in potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure. The folate contained in cannellini beans is necessary for our bodies to produce amino acids.

Flageolet Beans –

Flageolets originated in France, and are tiny, tender shell beans with a kidney shape, harvested just before they fully ripen. To preserve their light green hue, flageolets are dried in the shade. These beans are mint-green in color and smaller than any other kidney bean. They are low-fat, cholesterol-free, and fiber-rich foods. Fiber acts as a bulk laxative, binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon and removing them from the gut as quickly as possible, protecting the colon mucosa from cancer.

Pinto Beans –

Pinto beans are the most popular dried bean in the United States. They are commonly found in Mexican food. Despite the color, dried pinto beans turn a solid light brown or pale pink when cooked. These are easy to make, earthy to taste and almost nutty. They are usually eaten whole or mashed. A variety of health benefits can be derived from pinto beans, as they contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber.


Pulses are very high in fiber and protein, but very low in fat, with no cholesterol and a staple food across the globe. SITCO is a leading manufacturer and exporter of pulses to many countries and have gained a solid reputation for the excellent quality of grains we supply. With
our strict quality control, we offer pulses that are 100% organic at the best prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are pulses examples?

Beans, red and brown lentils, garden peas, kidney beans, runner beans, and chickpeas.

2. What are Indian pulses?

Mung daal, Masoor daal, Toor daal, Rajma, Chawli daal, and Hare mung daal.

3. What are plant pulses?

The pulses are a legume plant's edible seed. Pulses consist of beans, lentils, and peas. An
example is that a pea pod is a legume, but a pea inside the pod is the pulse.

4. How many types of pulses are there?

There are 11 types of pulses: dry broad beans, dry beans, dry peas, cow peas, chickpeas, pigeon
peas, Bambara beans, lentils, vetches, pulses, and lupins.

5. Are pulses kharif or rabi?

Pulses are grown in the Kharif, Rabi, and Zaid seasons.