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Nutritional and health properties of pulses

  • Vardis Dilis
  • Antonia Trichopoulou
Review

Abstract

Pulses represent one of the most important food categories that have been extensively used as staple foods to cover basic protein and energy needs throughout the history of humanity. In addition to their low lipid and high dietary fibre content, emerging evidence stresses the importance of pulses as carriers of several constituents of potential biological importance, including enzyme inhibitors, lectins, phytates, oxalates, polyphenols, saponins and phytosterols. Investigations in humans suggest that pulses may contribute to human health and wellbeing, mostly through prevention of coronary heart disease and possibly diabetes. The mechanisms responsible for this apparently protective role may include a favourable influence on blood lipids and glucose. The nutritional value of pulses, which are a key component of the traditional Mediterranean diet, is not generally recognised and is frequently under-appreciated.

Keywords

Pulses Nutritional composition Phytochemicals Coronary heart disease 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hygiene and EpidemiologyNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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