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Pulses: they are so important that the UN has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses

If you've ever paid attention to the Brazilian food pyramid, you'll have noticed that we should all consume at least one portion of legumes a day. And getting these grains into your diet isn't difficult at all - after all, who doesn't like beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas and soybeans? The importance of legumes is directly linked to the significant amount of nutrients these grains offer our bodies, which is why they should be consumed as part of a healthy diet, given that their benefits contribute to improving and maintaining quality of life.

And did you know that legumes help fight obesity, as well as prevent and help control chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer? This is because they are vital sources of plant-based proteins and amino acids for the body, especially when combined with cereals. Protein is a nutrient made up of smaller particles called amino acids. Of the 20 amino acids that the body uses as a basis for making its proteins, 11 are produced by our own bodies and nine are obtained exclusively through food. These amino acids that the body cannot produce (phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, histidine and valine) are called essential amino acids. That's why if just one of them is missing, thousands of proteins essential to life will no longer be produced, causing serious damage to health.

As with all foods, each type of legume provides certain nutrients in more or less obvious quantities. This is why it is recommended to consume grains in a varied way, following an individualized diet plan, as part of a healthy diet, and not in isolation.

After looking at all these attributes, it's easy to understand why the UN has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), appointed to facilitate the implementation of the Year in partnership with governments, relevant organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and various other entities, the IYP aims to intensify public awareness of the nutritional benefits of legumes as part of a sustainable production system aimed at Food and Nutrition Security. The year will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections across the food chain to use pulses as a source of protein, future global production of pulses, making better use of crop rotation and enumerating the challenges in legume exchange."


Be sure to visit the IYP website to find out more about this important subject.

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