Here's what you need to eat more of for better gut health and weight management
Want one simple way to eat healthier? Add more pulses to your diet!
Pulses include dried peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. They’re a fantastic source of protein and fibre (three heaped tablespoons of pulses provides up to 9g of protein), as well as being a significant source of vitamins and minerals, like iron, zinc, folate, and magnesium.
They're inexpensive, easily available and have a long shelf life. Plus, they are good for the soil, and have a considerably lower carbon footprint than meat.
So, why don’t we eat more pulses?
I think it comes down to two things:
Culinary trends haven’t tended to favour pulses. When I was a uni - some time ago now - pulses were associated with being bohemian and only for vegetarians. sadly, this hasn't changed much today.
Flatulence – let’s face it it’s a fact that pulses tend to induce gas!
Ways to increase your enjoyment of pulses:
Introduce pulses slowly so your body adjusts.
If you’re worried about bloating or wind from eating pulses, these thoughts alone can activate your stress response which can kick off discomfort in your gut. Try introducing pulses gradually and practice deep breathing exercises prior to eating them (trust me this can really help).
Try using the spice Asafoetida when cooking with pulses – this spice has been found to reduce indigestion, wind and bloating.
Digestive teas like ginger or fennel can help too – drink them after eating.
Way to get more pulses in your diet:
Introduce pulses half and half – try replacing half of your beef mince in chillis and ragus with lentils, half the meat in your burgers with beans, half the chicken in your fajitas with chickpeas. Replacing half of the red meat you eat with pulses is a great way to reduce your intake of saturated fat.
Make your own hummus or bean pates for dips for snacking. Blend up chickpeas or beans with olive oil, salt, lemon, garlic, tahini and other spices.
Use pulses as a base for all of your salads – a great way to add texture and protein!
And do the same for soups – the protein and fibre in pulses will help you to feel fuller for longer.
Pulses nourish your gut health, help manage weight, and support digestion. Their sustainability benefits the planet too. For ideas and recipes, check out my social media feeds.