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Pulses -a prescription for disease prevention and good nutrition

It is something Western Canada growers have likely known for years: Pulse crops can be an important part of Canadians' diets as the fight against heart disease, diabetes and obesity continues, with research findings showing the benefits of various pulses.


February 2, 2009
By Pulse Canada

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February 2, 2009

Winnipeg, Manitoba –Health and nutrition are pressing issues facing Canadians. Imagine a food ingredient that can help prevent diseases, improve your overall health and is grown in abundance in Canada. Think pulses –beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas.New research shows pulses have enormous potential to reduce cholesterol, fight cardiovascular disease, help with insulin management and improve gut health. The results from six clinical trials examining the link between eating pulses and positive health outcomes will be released at the Pulse Health & Food Symposium on Thursday, February 5 in Toronto. “Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are all top priorities for the medical community and pulses can play an important role in fighting these health problems,” says Peter Watts, Director of Market Innovation for Pulse Canada.  “Research on health benefits and the use of pulses in a wide range of food products is increasing interest in pulses not only as an important food ingredient, but as a valuable tool in preventative health care.”The clinical trials were funded through the Pulse Innovation Project, a Pulse Canada project which received a $3.2 million contribution from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Science and Innovation program. The project’s objective is to increase pulse utilization in North America to provide health and nutrition benefits to all Canadians and increase demand for Canadian pulses.  “Think of adding bean flour to tortillas or using pea flour to make food items such as cookies, cakes and biscotti healthier,” says Watts. “With this new clinical research, the opportunities to use pulse crops are endless and the pulse industry is poised to explore these new markets.”  In addition to learning more about the health benefits of pulses, participants at the Pulse Health & Food Symposium will learn how pulses meet consumer demands for nutritious and healthy products and how pulse ingredients can be used in novel food applications. Well-known Toronto chef Jamie Kennedy will do a pulse cooking demonstration at the opening reception on February 4 at his signature restaurant at the Gardiner Museum.  The Pulse Food Symposium is a Federal-Provincial-Territorial initiative, which was made possible through funding from the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). Pulse Canada is the national association representing growers, processors and traders of Canadian pulse crops.

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