In Indian households, most of the meals are not complete without the dals or lentils. We share an umbilical cord connection with the dals along with rice and rotis. Dals are highly nutritious and rich in taste. Each state in India has its own favourite selection of dal, the most common ones include the Toor, Urad, Moong, Masoor and Chana dals. Each of these dals is also prepared in different ways in different regions. We bring to you a few health benefits of five dals that dominate the Indian kitchens.
Arhar or Toor dal
Toor dal is not only delicious, but also has great amount of nutritional value. It contains good amount of fibre which can help in preventing problems such as constipation. Toor dal is a must have for all pregnant women because it is rich in folic acid. According to the New York State Department of Health, consuming enough folic acid by pregnant women can help decrease certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord by more than 70 percent. This dal is also good in curing cough, gastric troubles, stomach pain and food poisoning effects. Furthermore, it is said that toor dal can help keep the bad cholesterol away and keep the heart healthy.
Moong dal is believed to be a power-packed food. This dal is eaten in the form of snacks, added in soups, and is also used as an ingredient in delicious curries and sweets. This dal is rich in protein, fibre, minerals, and vitamins. It can also help in increasing the digestive and metabolic rate of human body, which in turn decreases the formation and accumulation of cholesterol in the arterial walls and capillaries. Incorporating Moong in your diet can help keep cholesterol based heart diseases at bay. If cooked with green leafy vegetables, the meal becomes all the more delicious and nutritious.
Most Indian kitchens are stocked with Chana dal and is used as the main ingredient in dishes like dal and vada. Rich in B-complex vitamins, Chana dal plays an important role in glucose metabolism and thereby it helps provide energy. One cup of cooked Chana dal provides around 33 percent of protein for the day. Being a rich antioxidant, Chana dal is also said to reduce the damage done by free radicals to the blood vessels and thereby lowers inflammation. Being a very good source of folic acid, it reduces the risk of blood clots and hardening of the arteries. It also has high amount of potassium and low amount of sodium which makes it very effective in regulating the blood pressure. Extremely high in fibre, it fulfills 54 percent of your daily fibre requirements. It is also fat and cholesterol free aiding in weight loss. The glycemic index of Chana dal is extremely low, as low as 8 which make it an excellent food for people suffering from diabetes.
Masoor dal, which is also known as red lentils, is power-packed with nutrients and has immeasurable benefits. A mere cupful of Masoor dal contains about 15 grams of dietary fibre and about 17 grams of protein and is a boon for people suffering from diabetes. It scores low in glycemic index and inhibits the rate at which the food is absorbed in the small intestine by blood. It effectively slows down the rate of digestion and prevents sudden or unexpected raise in the blood sugar level. So it should be consumed on a regular basis by those with sugar problems, diabetes and lack of insulin production. Due to its high content of dietary fibre, it also lowers the bad cholesterol in the body, improves blood circulation and reduces the risk of any sort of heart disease. Masoor dal is also known to help in weight loss.
Urad dal, also known as the “Split Black Gram”, is one of the famous lentils used in southern Indian cuisine. Rich in protein, fat and carbohydrates, urad dal has many health benefits. It is one of the richest sources of proteins and vitamin B, which is beneficial for women. It has iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium, which makes this dal a perfect health package for pregnant women. Urad dal also contains high amounts of fibre, magnesium and potassium, which are extremely beneficial for our heart health. Being rich in iron, it helps in increasing our overall energy levels and keeps us active.