Does Your Menu Have a Pulse?

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PulsesNo, not that kind of pulse. And don’t worry, we aren’t going to ask you if your refrigerator is running. From chickpeas to lentils to the good ole pea, “pulses” are poised to dominate menus in 2016. Named the International Year of the Pulses by the United Nations, 2016 is sure to showcase the many uses and benefits of pulses.

But what is a pulse?

Although some may categorize a pulse and a legume as the same, that is not the case. Pulses are a subcategory of legume that only includes the dried seed of the plant. The most commonly known pulses are chickpeas, lentils, and peas. Nutritionally speaking, the power of the pulse is often overlooked. Pulses offer a great source of protein, which is especially important in societies where diets do not include animal protein or animal protein is scarce.

Pulses are nutritionally similar to each other in that they have between 120 and 160 calories per 100 grams. They have around 10% of one’s daily value of potassium, 32% of fiber, 18% of iron, and 10 grams of protein. Comparing that to 100g of chicken which has around 170 calories, no fiber, and a high percentage of cholesterol, pulses have the upper hand. However, chicken will provide more protein, 31 grams per 100 grams.

Because pulses offer such a great source of fiber, they are important in diets of those who are looking to maintain a healthy weight. Fiber helps in regulating blood sugar levels and decreasing the “bad” cholesterol levels in someone’s blood. Getting enough fiber in one’s diet has been linked with a reduction in the risk of being diagnosed with type II diabetes and heart disease.

Pulses are not only healthier for the people consuming them, but also the soil that they are growing in. As nitrogen-fixers, pulses replenish the nitrogen in the soil: something that conventional crops deplete out of the soil. Nitrogen-rich soil is crucial in having high yields in the crop rotation in that field. Adding a pulse crop every couple of years would ensure that our soils will remain fertile and able to sustain future crops. A final environmental benefit of pulses is that the carbon and water footprint left by growing pulses is five times less that of animal proteins.

In their natural forms, pulses can appear to be unexciting or boring. However, with new innovations in the food industry, the same peas that grandma puts in her pot pie can be harvested for their protein or fiber. These pea proteins and fibers can be found in powders that consumers or food companies can put into a variety of products or recipes to up the nutritional ante. Additionally, lentils and chickpeas can be ground to form a flour that can be used in many culinary applications, such as snack foods, breads, and cereals. Pulses have a real advantage in bakery applications because they are gluten-free, which is a major concern in today’s society. So instead of using generic all-purpose flour to make bread, lentil or chickpea flour can be partially substituted to increase the nutrient content of the bread.

So what does it all mean? Pulses are commonly overlooked food sources that provide a good source of protein, fiber, iron, and potassium. Pulses can be utilized in their whole forms in soups, salads, and entrees or in their powdered and ground forms in baked good, smoothies, and sauces. Pulses are gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and a great tool for those looking to manage their health. The power of the pulse is being explored in the International Year of the Pulses in 2016, but should continue long into the future.


By | Nutrition | No Comments

PeteGlobeIn the food and beverage industry, knowing the difference between a trend and fad is as vital as time and temperature for any recipe.   At KOR Food Innovation, we make it our business to understand what makes a fad faddy and a trend trendy.  We cut to the essentials of what drives consumers to certain foods and brands over others—long-term.

Some trends prove not only that they will never go out of style, but that they will evolve and improve over time, like fine wine.  Health-forward thinking is here to stay, so health-forward eating will only evolve along with it.  In fact, we see this as fundamentally important to the evolution of mankind.  Healthier eating is a virtuous cycle that begets further virtuous cycles.  Since mankind is the steward of the Earth and our future, health-forward thinking will advance mankind toward a brighter future. Read More

Better Breakfast On-the-Go

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Raw Organic Granola BarsMany consumers today do not eat breakfast at the table — or even at home. Instead, our grab-and-go society relies heavily on portable breakfast items to fuel our busy morning commutes.

For insight into this trend, simply compare the nutritional and cereal bar market (portable meals) to standard cereal offerings. According to Packaged Facts, from 2004 to 2014, the number of households using cereal bars increased 50%, whereas cold cereal only increased 4%. Read More

Hello Mushrooms, Goodbye Inflammation

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AntiInflammatory Mushrooms_iStock_000000238337SmallMushrooms, which have long been considered a functional food, are commonly featured in appetizers, entrees, and even desserts. While the top five beneficial mushrooms include white button, reishi, shiitake, enoki, and oyster, the KOR team recommends experimenting with all varieties to see how the different textures and flavor profiles can affect your recipes. For more information about cooking with mushrooms, read below. Read More

Common Protein Misconceptions

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Protein (Eggs)Although most of us aren’t looking to bulk up for an upcoming movie role or stay competition-ready as a professional athlete, having the proper protein intake is important in leading a healthy lifestyle. Whether your protein is derived from plant or animal sources, it’s important to obtain the daily amount of protein your body needs. While many of us are informed about protein powders and high-protein foods, there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding protein intake. Below is a list of 3 protein misconceptions that we at KOR would like to share. Read More

The Benefits of Buckwheat

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Buckwheat grainTypically overshadowed by more popular super foods like açaí and kale, buckwheat is an underutilized health powerhouse. A distant relative to both rhubarb and sorrel, buckwheat is a grain-like fruit seed that is derived from a flowering plant. It’s not only nutrient rich, but is also gluten-free (which is great for those at KOR with wheat sensitivities). Below we’ve listed the top nutrients found in buckwheat along with a description of how each can benefit your overall health.

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The Ayurvedic Diet: Eating for Your Body Type

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Alternative TherapyThe ancient medical system of India, Ayurveda provides you with the knowledge you need to become truly healthy and feel good inside and out. Unlike other diets that group everyone together as a whole, Ayurveda takes into account your unique body type, which they call “dosha”, as well as your mental and emotional well-being. A holistic approach, the ayurvedic diet helps to create balance based on your unique characteristics.

To determine your body type, you can go through a detailed history with an ayurvedic physician or simply take an online quiz. Although most people are a combination of multiple doshas, below is a list of three ayurvedic body types and some foods we recommend eating!

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The Protein of the Future

By | Food Trends, Food Versatility, Nutrition | No Comments

iStock_000010303217SmallA low-calorie, protein-packed food, tofu has quickly grown in popularity within the U.S. market. With baked, flavored, silken, firm and extra firm varieties, you can use tofu for a wide range of dishes. Whether you add it to your morning smoothie for an extra protein boost, toss it into your stir fry to make a heartier meal for your family, or use it as a dairy replacement in your pudding pie for texture, tofu is extremely versatile. Tofu is a great source of calcium and can be heart friendly if it contains low amounts of sodium.

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The Power of Beetroot Juice

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iStock_000024671909XSmallMost athletes and dedicated workout junkies typically depend on nutrition supplements and other sport drinks like Gatorade to give them energy and boost their performance. Considering Gatorade contains added colors, sugars, salt, and chemicals, you may be pleased to learn the solution to improving your performance is outside in your garden.

 Beetroot juice supplementations have not only been proven to help your athletic performance, but can provide liver protection and lower blood pressure. Starting your day with a glass of beet juice will help your body respond to exercise better, balance out your oxygen use, and increase your stamina. Why? Recent studies have shown that nitrate-rich foods — like beets — can increase exercise stamina by improving blood flow and have a profound effect on oxygen uptake compared to other food.

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Omega 3 Overload

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Grilled sardine fishBelow you will find a list of KOR-approved fish that are not only free of toxins like mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, but contain omega-3 DHA and EPA, selenium, and vitamin B12.

Wild Salmon: Typically an expensive fish per pound, wild-caught salmon contain more than 3 times your recommended daily dose of omega-3s. This fish also has the smallest count of mercury, with only 0.01ppm. Another added benefit, a serving size of wild-caught salmon contains 72 percent of your recommended amount of selenium, a cancer-fighting mineral that increases antioxidants.

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