There are over 1000 legumes species. Pulses and legumes are in the class of vegetables that includes beans, peas, lentils and garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Beans and Lentils have been found in 5,000 year old settlements in the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, in Egyptian pyramids, Hungarian caves, Britain and Switzerland, in even earlier civilizations like Peruvian Indians, Middle Eastern and East Indian civilizations. Beans and Lentils are thought to have originated from the wild lentils that still grow in India, Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries.
Even now peas, chickpeas and lentils are produced and consumed mainly in Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and the Middle East but because of the interest in international cuisine, healthier diets and the desire to use herbs, spices and seasonings and low amounts of fat there is a new interest in beans and lentils.
Legumes are wonder foods as they are low in fat and absorb the flavor of spices and herbs, making them fun and tasty to eat. People have been eating legumes for thousands of years and these foods are the main source of protein for people in many cultures all over the world.
Beans and other legumes have all the nutrients now recognized as important in preventing heart disease, cancer and obesity. They are high in complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber and they are extremely low in fat.