*GLOBAL PULSE DAY (FEB 10 2018)*
Pulses are so important to consume on a regular basis for so many reasons!
They may be particularly beneficial if you suffer from any of the following conditions/symptoms:
- Poor health of teeth or bones
- Poor heart health
- Poor digestion (esp. constipation)
- Weak muscle strength
- Hormonal imbalance
- Memory loss
- Mental health issues
WHAT DO THEY PROVIDE?
Pulses are edible seeds of leguminous plants that include: lentils, beans and peas. They are a low-fat source of protein with a high fiber and micro-nutrient content; they easily add bulk to meals and give you a full feeling, which makes them beneficial as a meat-substitute for vegetarians and vegans. In fact, they can add richness and vibrancy to all diets!
Often high in iron-content, folate (and other B vits) which are important for women, people suffering for anaemia, immunity and fatigue issues. It ensures the maintenance of healthy skin, nails and hair.
It is recommended to include them in meals at least twice a week: once serving = 1 cup.
PULSES FOR MENTAL HEALTH
Pulses are comprised of complex carbohydrates which means that energy release is slower. This is essential for diabetics and people who are susceptible to energy dips or moods swings, especially if sugar addiction is an issue. Another carbohydrate contained in pulses is called ‘resistant starch’ which has the ability to behave like fibre in the body- reducing blood cholesterol and sugar levels as well as improving gut heath.
Dietary fibre provided by pulses feed gut bacteria as a prebiotic and in turn helps to stabilise a healthy gut environment. There is ample research to show that there is a gut-brain axis and this influence of a healthy gut on mental health/ brain activity is large; therefore protecting brain health really does start with a nutritious diet.
As aforementioned, pulses are a high source of protein and can prevent surges in blood sugar which is linked to hyperactivity. Sugar and additive consumption is highly associated with the diet of ADHD sufferers and needs to be decreased wherever possible. Pulses are the perfect solution for natural, balanced energy release throughout the day.
THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Legumes and beans have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels, help stabilise blood-sugar and lower blood-pressure . All aspects which have a positive impact on heart health. Beans are also great for minimising inflammation and oxidative stress. This especially occurs as a result of consuming beans with dark seed coats, such as black pinto and red kidney beans, as they contain higher levels of phytochemicals.
On top of this, beans and legumes are rich in “heart-healthy” micro-nutrients which enhance heart function. These include: niacin, magnesium, zinc, potassium and folate. Folate reduces incidence of heart disease by decreasing levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood, as this has the potential to damage blood vessel walls.
Some beans and legumes are particularly high in L-arginine which is often used as a supplement to increase sexual function. L-arginine is a precursor for nitric oxide, which allows blood vessels to dilate. Those pulses high in L-arginine include: lentils, kidney beans and soya beans. However, powders and supplements provide a higher source.
Menstrual Cycle and Menopause
Digestion plays a large part in regulating hormonal health, which means that intake of legumes is important. Increasing good bacteria, reducing inflammation and metabolism of waste products such as excess androgens in the blood stream are extremely beneficial.
Phytoestrogens and female hormones…
Many sources advise to avoid foods and herbs high in phytoestrogens when aiming to balance hormones in females and this advise should be taken seriously as dietary oestrogen mimics that which is created within our bodies, and in turn act as endocrine disruptions. However, avoiding phytoestrogens in the diet is only necessary in cases where the female is susceptible to illness caused by excess oestrogen, such as breast cancer and uterine fibroids.
In general, phytoestrogens are beneficial when consumed regularly and in moderation by females.
They are especially beneficial for women who suffer with low oestrogen and the symptoms/conditions that may arise from this such as: acne vulgaris, PMS mood swings, perimenopause and menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and osteoporosis. It has been suggested that phytoestrogens can act as a natural hormone replacement and aid balanced functioning of the hormonal cycle where oestrogen is deficient.
It is possible to follow a chakra healing diet by consuming pulses corresponding to the blocked chakra(s), i.e. following the ‘Rainbow Diet’.
Pulses are most highly associated with the third chakra which creates fire, metabolism and is centred around the digestive region. Pulses come in a variety of colours but in general resemble earthy browns, yellows and reds when cooked. They provide nourishment, building and stamina which means they also correspond highly with the root and sacral chakras. Lastly, they can be associated highly with the heart chakra, due to their large affinity for heart healing and function.