Peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas are all pulses which belong to a group known scientifically as leguminosae. This family of plants has 1,300 different kinds of species and is the second largest in the plant kingdom. Economically and nutritionally, this is one of the most important plant families for humans.
Various kinds of pulses are used in food, medicines, oils, chemicals, colors and more. Pulses contain a relatively high percentage of protein, which is one of the reasons why they are so important.
People have used pulses for thousands of years and it seems the first crops to be consumed domestically were lentils. Most pulses prefer a hot climate but some can grow in temperate areas.
Pulses can be eaten in many different ways: freshly cooked, dried, as flour, etc. Indian cuisine uses pulses in many of its dishes, and these dishes vary in color, taste and shape. Pulses are rich in protein and thus they can replace or at least complement low protein intake from animal sources.