Energy: Pulses give 340 calories per 100g which is almost similar to cereal calorie value.
Protein: In a vegetarian diet, pulses are important sources of protein. They give about 20-25 percent protein. The proteins of pulses are of low quality since they are deficient in methionine and tryptophan. Pulses are rich in lysine.
The most effective combination to achieve maximum supplementary effect is 5 parts of cereal proteins and one part of pulse protein. In terms of grains 8 parts of cereals and 1 part of pulses. This combination gives a protein quality equivalent to animal protein.
Carbohydrates: Pulses contain 55 to 60 percent starch. Soluble sugars, fibre and unavailable carbohydrates are also present.
Lipids: Pulses contain 1.5 per cent lipids on moisture free basis. They contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Along with cereals, they meet the requirements of essential fatty acids for an adult. Apart from linoleic acid, most legume seed oils contain high proportion of linolenic acid. They undergo oxidative rancidity during storage resulting in loss of protein solubility, off flavour development and loss of nutritive quality. Oleic, stearic and palmitic acids are also present.
Minerals: Pulses are important sources of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium and phosphorus; 80 per cent of phosphorus is present as phytate phosphorus. Phytin complexes with proteins and minerals and renders them biologically unavailable to human beings and animals. Processing such as cooking, soaking, germination and fermentation can reduce or eliminate appreciable amounts of phytin.
Vitamins:Legume seeds are excellent source of B complex vitamins particularly thiamine, folic acid and pantothenic acid. Like cereals they do not contain any vitamin A or C but germinated legumes contain some vitamin C.