Application and opportunities of pulses in food system: a review.
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Pulses are highly nutritious seeds of pod-bearing leguminous plants, specifically dry peas, lentils, and chickpeas. US farmers harvest about 2.6 million pounds of pulses every year but 75% of this is being exported internationally because of its increased consumption in the developing countries. In the current scenario, increasing costs of production, bad economy, and fluctuating food commodity prices have made a strong case for US producers to seek opportunities to increase domestic consumption of pulses through value-added products. Pulses are the richest sources of plant proteins and provide approximately 10% of the total dietary requirements of the proteins world over. Pulses are also high in dietary fibers and complex carbohydrates leading to low GI (glycemic index) foods. Pulses help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides as leguminous fibers are hypoglycosuria because of consisting more amylose than amylopectin. Pulses provide tremendous opportunities to be utilized in the processed foods such as bakery products, bread, pasta, snack foods, soups, cereal bar filing, tortillas, meat, etc. These show excellent opportunities in frozen dough foods either as added flour or as fillings. Pulses in view of their nutrient profile, seem to be ideal for inclusion in designing snack foods, baby, and sports foods.