Pulses are a subgroup of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried beans, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses. Pulses come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and there are hundreds of varieties grown throughout the world. This diversity and adaptability makes pulses a critical tool in efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and bolster the resilience of food systems worldwide.

Pulses contain high levels of protein and essential nutrients such as fiber, folate, calcium, iron, and vitamin C. This means they’re excellent for human health, but pulses are also good for soil health. The ability of pulses to fix nitrogen boosts the productivity of farmland long term. Many pulses promote higher rates of accumulation of soil carbon than cereals or grasses, and have been used by farmers in intercropping for centuries.