December 14, 2017

Indian Common Pulses and Their Surprising Health Benefits

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Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. They can grow in pods and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognize 11 types of pulses: dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, lentils, Bambara beans, vetches, and lupins. They are very high in protein and fibre, and are low in fat. Pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours and can be consumed in many forms including whole or split, ground into flours or separated into fractions such as protein, fibre and starch. India is the largest producer of pulses in the world.

The Nutritional Value of Pulses

Pulses have a high nutritional value. They are rich in proteins (21 gram per 100 grams), Carbohydrates (43 gram per 100 grams), fibre, the minerals phosphate, calcium and iron and the vitamins of the B-complex. The vegetable proteins in pulses can replace to a great extent animal protein. This is important for vegetarians who use pulses as a substitute for meat. They are low in sodium and saturated fats. Carbohydrate is a starch, which provides energy to the human body. Unpeeled pulses contain many nutritious fibres or celluloses.

Masoor Sabut ( Brown Lentils)

The masoor dal is perhaps one of the most common pulses in an Indian kitchen. They can range in color from khaki-brown to dark black, and generally have a mild, earthy flavor. They cook in about 20 to 30 minutes and hold their shape very well.

Health benefits:

1. Good source of protein, essential amino acids, potassium, iron, fiber and vitamin B1. It also helps to lower cholesterol and control sugar levels.

2. Lentils are extremely rich in soluble fiber, which forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, thereby helping in removing bile from the body.

3.The soluble fiber in lentils has the property of trapping carbohydrates. It slows down the digestion and absorption process, hence preventing major changes in blood sugar level throughout the day. This helps diabetic patients.

Masoor Malka (Red Lentils Split)

Lentils have been a staple in the human diet since ancient times. Red lentils, which are hulled, halved yellow lentils, become extremely soft when cooked and are commonly used in curry, soups or the traditional Indian dish dal.
Red lentils contain 230 calories. Nearly 70 percent of the total caloric content of red lentils is supplied by carbohydrates. Approximately, each 1-cup serving of cooked red lentils contains 40 grams of carbohydrates, with 15 grams of dietary fiber or 44 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake for a man and 53 percent of the requirement per day for a woman.

Health Benefits: A diet rich in fiber from foods like lentils may lower your risk of stroke, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and digestive disorders.

Mah Daal (Black Gram)

Black gram originated in India, where it has been in cultivation since ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India and Pakistan. It is very widely used in the Punjabi Cuisine and is often referred to as “maa di daal” in the native language by Punjabis. A Black gram is used for making various types of south Indian breakfast such as dosa, idli, and vada. It is also used for to create papad.

Black gram is very nutritious as it contains high levels of protein (25g/100g), potassium (983 mg/100g), calcium (138 mg/100g), iron (7.57 mg/100g), niacin (1.447 mg/100g), Thiamine(0.273 mg/100g), and riboflavin(0.254 mg/100g). It complements the essential amino acids provided in most cereals and plays an important role in the diets.

Health Benefits:  It helps to reduce the digestive aid and improve the digestion. It is good for the heart health. It maintains the bone mineral density so good for improving bone.

Stay tuned for more information regarding Indian spices and pulses.

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