This post originally appeared on The co-operative blogs.

In 2013 the United Nations designated 2016 the International Year of the Pulses. So we thought we’d share why we love the little miracles so much.

High in protein, vitamins and minerals, low in fat, cholesterol-free, and a good source of fibre – pulses are disease-busting pulses and can often be cheaper than animal based protein.

Six Reasons to choose pulses…

  1. Pulses are a great source of protein. This means they can be particularly important for people who do not get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products.
  2. Pulses can also be a healthy choice for meat-eaters. You can add pulses to soups, casseroles and meat sauces to add extra texture and flavour. This means you can use less meat, which makes the dish lower in fat and cheaper.
  3. Pulses are a good source of iron.
  4. Pulses are also a starchy food and adds fibre to your meal. Eating a diet high in fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.Pulses protect against diseases.
  5. An easy way to get 1 of your 5 a day… One portion is 80g, which is around three heaped tablespoons of cooked pulses.
  6. Pulse crops are one of the most environmentally friendly crops a farmer can grow. Water use in vegetables and pulses is typically much lower than that used in meat production, kg for kg*. Pulses also contribute to soil quality by fixing nitrogen in the soil and are often used as a rotation crop.

If you want to find out more about pulses and get inspired with recipes and facts you can visit the International year of the Pulses’ website here