Thursday Tips: Pulses, beans, sprouts: Your affordable superfood

By 13th February 2020 April 3rd, 2020 No Comments

Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian or non-vegetarian, you can easily power up the nutrition quotient of your diet with pulses and sprouts. Adding the right portion of pulses to your diet will help you improve your gut health and better manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, as well as help prevent cancer.


Pulses are available as whole, dehusked, split or dals. At the supermarket or food courts, they are also available as sprouts, flours, canned, bean curd, tofu, tau kwa, tau pok, tempeh etc. Choose bean curd, tofu and tau kwa rather than tau pok (which is fried) and tempeh (lower in fibre). 

Pulses and beans are not eaten raw. Cooking increases the bioavailability of nutrients, and converts the anti-nutritional factors present in raw pulses to act in a positive protective manner.

Sprouting of pulses

Sprouts are mini plants, formed when whole pulse is soaked for 12 hours and then kept for germination for 2 to 3 days. Sprouting increases the vitamin C content of pulses, which acts as an antioxidant to help fight against inflammation in the body. In some pulses, riboflavin, niacin (both B vitamins) and activity of enzymes necessary for digestion increases. Pulses have storage protein, sprouting increases the bioavailability of amino acids stored in the raw form. 

The high fibre content of pulses increases satiety, reduces glycaemic load and reduces insulin spikes resulting in improved glycaemic control, weight loss and weight management. The resistant starch increases the transit time of food in the colon which helps to reduce carcinogenesis and is one of the factors attributed to prevent colon cancer. 

Superfoods to prevent cancer 

Polyphenols in pulses, legumes, beans and sprouts hinder mutagenesis and carcinogenesis through their strong antioxidant qualities. In simpler words, polyphenols prevent the development and activation of carcinogens (cancer causing substances); thus, preventing the carcinogen attaching to DNA and also boosting repair of damaged DNA. 

Exciting, easy ways you can make pulses and sprouts a staple in your diet 

  • Breakfast /Snacks: 
    • A cup of simple boiled sprouts with a few vegetables (optional)
    • Pancakes or soaked beans mix / add sprouts to smoothies
    • Add it to sandwich / pilaf / burrito fillings
    • Try hummus instead of ketchup along with your favourite snack
    • Baked bean on toast is so versatile you could have it as any meal depending on the portion you choose
  • Lunch / Dinner
    • Add it to your soup, stew or laksa
    • Add a spoon or two to your salads / sprout salad 
    • Make a delicious dal or lentil / bean curry /stir-fry to serve with rice / pasta / chapati /prata
  • International cuisines
    • Try enchiladas, or falafels with beans, instead of meat
    • Have you tried the simple, easy, delicious eight treasure congee from China?
    • How about the Spanish fabada or frijoles negros from Venezuela or ful mudamas from Egypt or Moroccan harira soup?

They are the best snack for your irresistible evening hunger. Do let us know your favourite pulse /bean recipe. Watch this space to know more about power of polyphenols in your everyday food. Reach out to our team of doctors and health coach at MyDoc to help you achieve your health goals.

Always here for you,

Sheetal Somaiya
Accredited Dietitian 
MyDoc healthcare team



  1. VOHRA, K. and DUREJA, H. An Insight of Pulses: From Food to Cancer Treatment. Journal of Pharmacognosy & Natural Products [online]. 2016. Vol. 1, no. 1. DOI 10.4172/2472-0992.1000108. Available from:
  2. JOSHI, Vk and KUMAR, Satish. Meat Analogues: Plant based alternatives to meat products- A review. 1 January 2016. Vol. 5, no. 2, p. 107–119. PDF | A meat analog, also called a meat substitute, mock meat, faux meat or imitation meat, approximates certain aesthetic qualities and chemical… | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate
  3. OGHBAEI, Morteza and PRAKASH, Jamuna. Effect of primary processing of cereals and legumes on its nutritional quality: A comprehensive review. YILDIZ, Fatih (ed.), Cogent Food & Agriculture [online]. 29 January 2016. Vol. 2, no. 1.  DOI 10.1080/23311932.2015.1136015. Available from:


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