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Food & Hunger

Why chickpeas have superpowers

2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations!

What is a pulse you ask? Good question. Pulses refer to a food group that is a subgroup of legumes and includes dried grain legumes like kidney beans, navy beans, faba beans, chickpeas, dried or split peas, mung beans, cowpeas, black-eyed peas, and several varieties of lentils

While pulses may not seem like a glamourous food group, there are some great reasons why the United Nations is encouraging people to eat them on a regular basis.

Pulses pack a serious nutritional punch

Pulses are high in protein, low in fat, contain no cholesterol and are an excellent source of dietary fibre. On top of it they are a great source of minerals (such as iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc) and B-vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and folate).

Pulses give back to the soil that they are grown in

When soil is used for agriculture, over time the nitrogen that is vital for growing food becomes depleted. Pulses are able to biologically convert nitrogen in the air into a nitrogen compound that soil uses to grow food. By using pulses to nitrify soil, fertilizers don’t need to be used as much, which is a win for the environment. Overuse of fertilizers causes chemical runoff that can get into lakes, rivers and even oceans causing algal blooms, which in turn can cause dead zones where aquatic plants and animals can’t survive.. Using pulses as part of a crop rotation scheme helps keep soil in great condition allowing the same plot of land to be used long-term, while yielding a valuable output for farmers.

Pulses can help improve food security

Pulses can be dried and stored for long periods of time without losing their nutritional value. This means they can be stored and used between harvests at times when food is scarce. Pulses can also be consumed by the farmers who grow them, unlike cash crops like coffee or cotton, and can therefore contribute to increase personal food security, while also being a valuable crop to sell. One in nine people worldwide suffers from chronic hunger. That’s 805 million people, greater food security has the potential to improve millions of lives.

Pulses can stand up to global warming

Many crops can’t grow in dry conditions or in high heat, but pulses can be bred to withstand a broad spectrum of environments because of their broad genetic diversity. Work is already underway to create varieties of pulses that will be able to grow in temperatures above their normal comfort zone, offering some much needed food security in an increasingly hot world. Furthermore, pulses are not only delicious, eating them on a regular basis and replacing some of the meat in your diet with them will help you lower your carbon footprint.

Now that you know more about why pulses are awesome, you might want to start incorporating them into your diet more and to do that you can take the Pulse Pledge!

By signing on you pledge to eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks, you can sign up here:
If all the cool facts about pulses haven’t won you over, perhaps some delicious recipes will do the trick:

Black bean burger

Full recipe


Chicken and chickpea skillet pasta

Full recipe


Northwest Chili

Full recipe


You don’t have to be a foodie to take on this challenge, just a global citizen willing to try something new for the sake of the planet and all the people on it!
Sign up today!