Dr. Krista Power, AAFC research scientist at the Guelph Research and Development Centre
This year is the UN’s International Year of Pulses, and several Guelph, Ont.-based scientists are currently conducting research that offers even more reason to add pulses to your diet in 2016. According to their research, pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas) could be the key to improving overall gut health and helping to safeguard against gut-associated diseases when consumed regularly.
Diseases and health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer and obesity are associated with poorer gut health and inflammation, and “pulses are rich in components that might help reduce the development of those diseases,” says Dr. Krista Power, research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Guelph Research and Development Centre in Ontario. “If you strengthen the gut barrier and enhance the activity and diversity of the microbiota, it can impact the development of many gut-associated diseases.”
Dr. Power is collaborating with AAFC scientists Dr. Susan Tosh and Dr. Rong Cao, as well as University of Guelph’s Dr. Lindsay Robinson and Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe. Together, they’re currently studying the link between different pulse foods and gut health in a project jointly funded by AAFC and Pulse Canada.
“Pulses are rich in non-digestible carbohydrates (fibre) that can reach the colon,” adds Power.
The Guelph Research and Development Centre is part of AAFC’s network of 20 centres across the country. The Centre is committed to specialized research in the areas of food safety, quality and nutrition.