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South Africa celebrates National Nutrition Week from 9 to 15 October and this year’s theme is ‘Love your beans’, highlighting the importance of pulses like lentils, beans, soya and peas in our diets.

Lynn Moeng-Mahlangu, Cluster Manager of Health Promotion, Nutrition and Oral Health at the National Department of Health says, “There’s a good reason to put dry beans, peas, lentils and soya into the spotlight. Unfortunately, they are largely overlooked as they are often seen as a ‘poor man’s food’ and they can take a long time to cook. We should be eating them, along with a variety of foods, at least four times a week; and yet, many of us hardly include them in our diets.”

Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) president, Maryke Gallagher says, “We are delighted that this year’s theme highlights these affordable, versatile and tasty foods that make such a vital contribution to our health when they are a regular part of the family’s healthy eating regime.”
The top nutritional benefits of eating dry beans, peas, lentils and soya are that:

  • They are low in fat but high in fibre and have a low glycaemic index
  • They are naturally cholesterol-free
  • They are naturally gluten-free
  • They are a good source of plant protein, providing twice as much protein as wheat
  • They are good sources of vitamins such as folate and minerals such as potassium and calcium

Here are a few recipes for introducing more pulses into your diet:
Sweet potato and lentil curry
Bean soup
Samp and beans with soya mince
Source: National Nutrition Week