Pulses for nutrition in India: changing patterns from farm to fork

India, a country with high concentrations of poor and malnourished people, long promoted a cereal-centric diet composed of subsidized staple commodities such as rice and wheat to feed its population of more than a billion. Today, however, dietary patterns are changing. Policy makers, researchers, and health activists are looking for ways to fight hunger and malnutrition in the country. As they shift their focus from calorie intake to nutrition, neglected foods such as pulses (the dried, edible seeds of legumes) are gaining attention. Pulses for Nutrition in India: Changing Patterns from Farm to Fork explores the numerous benefits of a diet that incorporates pulses. Pulses, including pigeonpeas, lentils, and chickpeas, are less expensive than meat and are excellent sources of protein. In India, people consume pulses and other legumes for protein intake. Pulses also benefit the ecosystem. Among protein-rich foods, pulses have the lowest carbon and water footprints. Pulses also improve soil health by naturally balancing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil; thus, growing pulses reduces the need for nitrogenous fertilizer.

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