Sunday, March 8, 2009

Miracle Food: Beans and Lentils (pulses)

"Pulses are widely available, easy to store and cook, and generally inexpensive. They are very useful sources of protein, making them an excellent alternative to meat for vegetarians and for those wanting to reduce animal fats in their diet. They are also a good form of carbohydrate, with slow-release sugars. Unlike the sugars found in sweets, cakes and chocolate, slow-release sugars do not send a sudden rush of sugar into the blood, causing an endless yo-yoing of energy levels and, often, mood swings. Instead, they release their sugars slowly, giving a constant source of energy throughout the day, with a steadying effect on blood sugar levels.

Pulses contain phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens, which occur naturally in certain plants and mimic female hormones. These phytoestrogens have a stabilizing effect on the menstrual cycle and are believed to be highly beneficial in regulating erratic periods, tackling PMS and relieving menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. There is also increasing evidence that pulses lower breast cancer risks and protect against fibroids.

Most pulses are high in minerals, including iron, potassium, selenium, calcium, manganese, magnesium and folic acid. They are excellent intestinal cleansers and increase the friendly bacteria of the gut that aid digestion. They are a staple of detoxifying diets. They also cleanse the blood and lower cholesterol. Lentils also contain a number of B vitamins, and these help to stabilize blood pressure."

Taken from "Miracle Foods" by Anna Selby

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