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Dals and pulses are a part of the Indian staple diet and for good reason. They are also known as legumes and are very high in protein. In fact in the Indian sub continent, dals and pulses provide the maximum protein in the diets of vegetarian.
What are pulses?
Pulses are the edible seeds of legumes including lentils, dry peas, chickpeas and dry beans. They do not include fresh and green peas or beans. The best quality of pulses is that they contain almost no fat which makes them quite different from soy beans and peanuts which are high in fat content.
Who should eat pulses?
All people can benefit from eating dals and pulses because they are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates and low in fat. This is the reason that they help in weight loss and are an important part of any healthy diet. Pulses are especially beneficial for people who:
Benefits of pulses
Pulses have very high fiber content which are both soluble and insoluble fibers. The soluble fibers help in lowering the blood cholesterol levels and insoluble ones aid digestion and enhance bowel movement. Small amount of high fiber pulses are more filling compared to other food which is not so rich in fiber. This in turn helps to control hunger and hence the intake of calories.
The glycemic index of pulses is very low and hence they also help in maintaining the blood sugar levels. The maximum amount of carbohydrates in pulses consist of starch and fiber which are complex carbohydrates and hence do not cause the blood sugar level to rise fast.
Pulses and legumes are especially rich in Folate, which is known to lower the levels of Homocysteine. There is evidence to suggest that Homocysteine causes damage to the artery lining and enhances the build up of Paque and hence causes blood clots. This can cause a stroke or heart attack over a period of time.
Pulses are also free from gluten and are beneficial for people suffering from Celiac disease. You can easily substitute wheat based products with pulses and enhance the content of starch, protein, fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals that usually lack in a gluten free diet.
If you are a vegetarian you should always include pulses and lentils like peas, beans chickpeas etc. instead of meats. Eating a combination of pulses with grain like rice and wheat or oats make sure that you are able to get high quality protein.
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