Should you be pro pulse foods?

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Pulses are a specific part of the legume family made up of dried beans, lentils, and chickpeas. (KFSN)

When Irina Ioffe wanted to lose weight, she jumped on the 'bean wagon'.

"Beans were just a great alternative to carbs, and it worked really well," said Ioffe.

Ioffe did not whittle her waist with just any beans. She devours pulses-- a specific part of the legume family made up of dried beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

"You can pretty much make just about anything with beans."

Ioffe is onto something-- the United Nations is pushing a pulses-based diet. That's for good reason, according to nutritionist Laurie Meyer.

"They are nutritious; they have all these nutrients we've identified: protein, minerals, B vitamins, fiber, antioxidants. So, they really are what we consider a superfood."

Now, a whole host of products are hitting the market that punch up the protein. You've got your pulse pastas, chips, even bean-based desserts like cookie dough and brownie batter.

"Bean based ice creams and things like that are also quite delicious," said Ioffe.

One thing to watch for though, beans can be high in calories; so like with anything, watch your portion size.

Ioffe didn't find the calories to be an issue; she insists pulses helped her drop weight. And Meyer said there is research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that backs Ioffe up.

"People who ate a serving of beans a day, that's 3/4 cup of beans, actually lost more weight than people who didn't eat any beans at all."

Ioffe looks forward to keeping her finger on the pulse of the trend.

"I'm really glad that more people are coming on board, and that companies are really listening to consumers."

Beans are easy to grow and if stored in a cool, dry place, they can last up to a year.

Nutritionists say it's important to prepare beans properly so they are easy to digest. It's best to soak them usually overnight or up to 24 hours.

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