What are pulses made of?

Pulses may look small, but they are a nutritional powerhouse! Here are some interesting facts that you might not know:

Did you know that 100 g of boiled split lentils contain:

  • more than 2.5 mg of iron*, a mineral useful for preventing anemia,
  • and up to 11 g of protein, which is about triple the protein content of rice?

Did you know that 100 g of boiled common beans have:

  • 8.5 g of dietary fibre, which improves stool volume and bowel transit,
  • and 78 mcg of folate, a vitamin that reduces the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida in newborn babies?

You can now find this data and more in uPulses1.0, FAO’s pulses composition database developed for the IYP. uPulses provides a complete nutrient profile for 16 species of pulses. In total, uPulses contains 177 food entries: 61 entries for raw pulses and 116 for cooked pulses.

Prior to uPulses, most food composition databases and international scientific literature poorly covered pulses. Therefore, creating a comprehensive database detailing the vitamin and mineral content of pulses has been one of the IYP’s priorities.

Most countries – both developing and developed- face some form of malnutrition, whether it is undernutrition or obesity. Pulses can help fill in the nutritional gaps that diets often lack. They also serve as a great substitute to animal-proteins, which are higher in fats.

It doesn’t matter if you are a nutrition expert, a policy-maker, an athlete or if you just want to eat a healthier diet, uPulses contains all the nutritional information you have ever needed about this food source. Parents and school teachers can also use the nutritional facts in uPulses, as well as these useful tips, to encourage children to eat more pulses.

 You can access the uPulses database and its user guide here.


* Combining pulses with sources of vitamin C, like citrus fruits, improves the iron available from them.