2016 – International Year of Pulses

Did you know that the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP; http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/en/)? To quote from the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation website:

“The IYP 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. The Year will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chain that would better utilize pulse-based proteins, further global production of pulses, better utilize crop rotations and address the challenges in the trade of pulses.”

The FAO defines pulses as “annual leguminous crops yielding between one and 12 grains or seeds of variable size, shape and colour within a pod, used for both food and feed”, adding that “pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are a critical part of the general food basket. Pulses are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people around the globe and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet to address obesity, as well as to prevent and help manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary conditions and cancer.”

So, does this mean that the UN FAO has ‘gone vegan’? Well, not exactly, but it’s nice to see the organisation recognising the importance of plant foods in the human diet and promoting their use.

Paul Appleby

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