It is a strange word in the English language! A homonym – a word that is spelled the same but has different meanings. When your pulse races. When you have your finger on the pulse. Or, when you devour a delicious bowl of food, that is good for people and the planet, made from pulses!
Pulses – the eating variety – are a highly nutritional, and incredibly important food group to include in our diets for so many reasons. So much so, that the United Nations dedicated an entire year in 2016 to researching pulses and promoting their benefits.
February 10 is now recognized as World Pulses Day, an annual moment to celebrate pulses. This years’ theme is to increase global awareness of the role of pulses in ensuring sustainable food systems and their importance as a nutritious, eco-friendly, affordable food source, leaving no one behind.
Not only are pulses mouth-watering, but these ancient crops are also highly nutritional, having been used to sustain populations for hundreds of years. In fact, evidence of lentil production has been discovered near the Egyptian pyramids and dry pea fossils were found in a Swiss village dating back to the Stone Age!
These small but mighty crops can also contribute to the development of sustainable food systems and work towards eradicating world hunger and poverty.
They help increase farming biodiversity and climate mitigation efforts while improving global nutrition levels, food security, and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. According to the UN, widespread recognition of pulses will lead to even more production, consumption and support the achievement of Agenda 2030.