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Nutritional benefits of pulses

One of the messages that FAO aims to highlight during the International Year of Pulses is the nutritional benefits of pulses, encouraging a paradigm shift towards including more of this nutritional powerhouse in diets all over the world.

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Pulses contribute to food security

Pulses are an affordable source of protein and minerals for a large proportion of rural populations in the world. They have a long shelf life, which means they can be stored for long periods without losing their nutritional value.

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Health benefits of pulses

Diet is an important contributor to health, and to disease. Most countries face nutritional problems, from undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies to obesity and diet-related diseases (such as type II diabetes and certain types of cancer), or a mix of these.

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Pulses and climate change

Approximately, some 85 million hectares of pulses were cultivated in 2014 worldwide and they fixed 3 to 6 million tonnes of nitrogen. Consequently, introducing pulses into farming systems can contribute to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and be key to increasing resilience to climate change.

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Pulses and biodiversity

Pulses are able to increase biodiversity as they are able to fix their own nitrogen into the soil, which increases soil fertility. It is estimated that there are hundreds of varieties of pulses, including many local varieties that are not exported or grown worldwide.

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