You are currently viewing Pulses: What they are and why we need them

Pulses: What they are and why we need them

We all know that dried lentils, beans and peas are pulses, but how much do we know about what a pulse actually is, what they can do for our health and how growing them is good for our environment.

Also known as legumes, pulses are the edible seeds of leguminous plants that are grown and cultivated for food. Not only are they absolutely delicious and extremely versatile to help us get creative in the kitchen, but pulses are also important for our health and can help fight climate change.


Pulses are low in sodium and fat and contain no cholesterol. They are also a good source of both iron and potassium and are packed with plant-based protein as well as other essential nutrients. They also have a long shelf life and are gluten-free.

And if this wasn’t good enough, they also help the farmers who grow them because they can choose to sell them or eat them, leading to household food security and, in the bigger picture, works towards economic stability.


They improve soil fertility because they are nitrogen-fixing, which means that less dependency on synthetic fertilizers is needed. And when they are grown amongst a bunch of other crops (intercropping) or as a cover crop to protect and enrich the soil, they can help farmers promote farm and soil diversity. They also have a small water footprint, minimising waste.


Lentils are cheap and easily available in SA, and we have used them in some of our favourite recipes, so definitely don’t shy away and try one of these delicious dishes ASAP!

Chilli-con-lentils with tortilla chips

Baked potatoes stuffed with yoghurt lentils

Spicy lentil bobotie

AGT Foods is a value-added pulse, staple food and ingredient processor for export and domestic markets. Through its offices and processing facilities located in some of the best agricultural growing regions in Canada, the U.S., Turkey, China, Australia and South Africa, and merchandising and sales offices in the U.K., the Netherlands and Spain, AGT produces a full range of pulses and specialty crops including lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans and canary seed as well as food ingredients such as pulse flours, proteins, starches and fibres. Its subsidiary in Turkey, the Arbel Group, produces staple foods such as Arbella Pasta, rice and milled wheat products, including bulgur and semolina. In South Africa, AGT Foods represents the Retail, Hospitality, Spices, Ingredients, Popcorn, Bakery and Protein Divisions.

Want more from AGT Foods? They teach us to make our own seed biscuits at home here.

0 / 5. Vote count: 0