Pulse Canada has committed $1.25 million to 5 clinical trials studying the human health benefits of eating pulse crops such as peas, beans and lentils.

Manager of Market Innovation Julianne Kawa says the primary focus is the reduction in the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

She notes consumption of pulse crops in North America is relatively low, yet Canada is one of the largest producers and exporters of pulses in the world.

Ultimately, if a link between pulses and health can be made, consumption may rise and in turn there will be greater demand.

Four of the trials will be conducted at Canadian universities and research institutions, including 2 in Manitoba, with the fifth conducted at a U.S. university.

One will take place at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba.

The other will be conducted at The Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine which is part of St. Boniface Hospital.