World Pulses Day is an annual event that falls on February 10th.
Established in 2019 by FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), the day aims to encourage the production and consumption of legumes in our diet.
The aim is to make people aware of the importance of these foods which are not only essential for our diet as they are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, but which can help reduce malnutrition in many parts of the world.
Legumes, as mentioned, have a high concentration of proteins with a low percentage of sugars and unsaturated fats. Furthermore, they are a source of vitamins and minerals (for example iron) and are ideal for keeping the level of cholesterol in the blood low.
By virtue of their nutritional characteristics, legumes are also considered a sustainable alternative to meat as their production has a lower environmental impact than that deriving from animal farming.
The cultivation of legumes is much easier to manage than other crops and is also accessible to the poorest populations as they are plants with a low water footprint that need little water to develop and can grow even in environments with difficult weather.
This means that even in arid or drought-prone areas, the cultivation of legumes can facilitate population access to nutritious foods and therefore represent an important food source for local communities.
Furthermore, the role of natural fertilizers that these plants have always played in agriculture should not be underestimated: in fact, they are indispensable in crop rotation as they are nitrogen fixers, i.e. capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil, thus increasing its fertility.