Beans and pulses are a useful food to have in your kitchen cupboard. You can buy them fresh, dried or tinned and in most cases, will keep for ages. Beans and pulses are ideal for adding to soups, sauces, casseroles and curries. They also have a number of benefits for your health, so make sure you read up on them and head to the shops to fill up your cupboards!


Types of beans and pulses

There are many types of beans and pulses, some you might never have thought of. They include:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Baked beans
  • Garden peas and runner beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Broad beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Butter beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Cannellini beans

They’re an affordable food source that is ideal to keep in bulk at home – you’ll never run out of ingredients for easy, tasty meals this way.


The health benefits of beans and pulses

They’re good for your heart health

Beans and pulses have many benefits for your heart. They’re full of fibre and can help to lower your cholesterol too. It’s important to wash tinned beans and pulses before you cook them, as you’ll get rid of a lot of the sodium in them this way.

They’re low in fat

Beans are a low-fat food, which is great if you’re on a diet or you’re looking to build muscle. They not only have low fat content, but they contain no cholesterol either, so you can use them to make homemade varieties of many other foods (including vegetarian burgers) that are fat free and healthy.

They’re full of protein

Beans and pulses are a good source of protein, so no matter what your diet – if you eat meat, you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you can benefit from the protein power of these tasty foods. A good way to add them to your diet is in salads and to thicken up curries and so on. This will help you feel fuller without the high-calorie content.

They’re great for your digestive system

There’s a great deal of fibre in beans and pulses, which means that they are excellent for digestion. Teamed with regular drinks of water, you can enjoy regular digestion that will ease bloating and stop you feeling slow and sluggish.

They’re packed with antioxidants

There are various antioxidants, vitamins and minerals found in beans and pulses which include magnesium, iron, copper, zinc and vitamin B. Many of us fail to get the nutrients we need and adding these to your food can be one way to get them.


Recipes with beans and pulses and further information

Beans and pulses can help form part of a healthy diet, something that is essential for practicing effective self-care. BBC Food has some excellent recipes to help if you’re looking for new and interesting ways to cook with beans and pulses and you’ll find a wealth of inspiration on the internet. You’ll also find information about the benefits of beans and pulses on the NHS Choices website, including how to cook them safely.

Eating a variety of healthy, natural foods is a good way to maintain a healthy diet, and will make it easier to make it a habit than if you were to eat the same things all the time. Try adding more beans and pulses to your diet and see how you could benefit.