Why Are Pulses Important? Read in Detail

Before going into reading about different types of pulses and their health benefits, let’s first understand what exactly are pulses? Is there a difference between pulses and legumes?

Pulses are part of the legume family (any plants that grow in pods), but the term “pulse” refers only to the dry edible seed within the pod.

Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and split peas are the most common types of pulses (given in the image). Pulses are unique because they have distinct health benefits apart from other legumes. Unlike legumes like peanuts and soy, pulses are low in fat and very high in protein and fibre.

Various types of Pulses (dals) their health benefits

Each region of India has its favourite selection of dal. Dal is not just tasty, but it is one of the rich sources of proteins for vegetarians and has plenty of other benefits as well.

But we should be careful while consuming it because dals are also known for the production of uric acid in our body that may cause damage to our digestive system if consumed excessively.

Here are 8 types of dals and their benefits

 1. Green Gram

Common name: Moong dal

The green moong or green gram is one of the most consumed pulses. Not just as a simple dal, but it’s used to make sweets as well. Also, green moong sprouts are a great source of protein. They are available whole, split, with skin on, and removed.

Health benefits: Green gram is a source of manganese, potassium, folate, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B. It is also rich in dietary fibre.

2. Black gram

Common name: Udad dal

It is usually called black dal when whole, and white when it’s skinned and split. Urad is the main ingredient of bondas, papads, medu vada, a version of payasam, and even dosas.

Health benefits: Urad Dal helps improve digestion, is a good source of protein, controls cholesterol.

3. Red Split Lentils

Common name: Massor dal

The masoor dal is one of the most common pulses in an Indian kitchen as it is really easy to make.

Health Benefits: Masoor dal is a good source of protein, essential amino acids, potassium, iron, fibre, and vitamin B1. It also helps to control cholesterol and sugar levels.

4. Red Gram

Common name: Pigeon dal

Red dal is one of the most used and famous ingredients in an Indian kitchen. Indians, especially South Indians, consume this dal almost day in the form of recipes.

Health Benefits: Red gram contains iron, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin B, and potassium.

5. Black-eyed peas

Common Name: Lobia

The lobia is cooked in plenty of ways. Lobia is prepared similar to how other dal preparations are made. It is sprouted to add as a salad as well.

Health benefits: Lobia is rich in protein and fibre, and is an excellent dal to add it to the diet to lose weight. It also controls the fluctuation of cholesterol levels and keeps them lower.

6. Dried Green Peas

Common name: Matar dal

Matar dal is usually cooked at home as an evening snack. You could use yellow variety or green.

Health benefits: High in protein, and dietary fibre. It is also a good source of manganese, copper, folate, Vitamin B1 and B5, and potassium.

7. Bengal gram

Common name: Chana dal

Chana dal comes in two forms: a smaller one with dark skin, is called Kala chana, and the larger white ones are known as Kabuli chana. It is cooked in different ways and can be sprouted to make a salad. A recipe called ‘Hummus’ is one of the healthiest ways to eat the Kabuli chana.

Health benefits: It has anti-inflammatory properties, is high in folate, molybdenum, manganese, copper, fibre, protein, iron, and zinc.

8. Horsegram

Common name: Kulthi/Ulavalu

Not everyone likes the horse gram or kulthi. However underestimated, it has various benefits. Rasam made out of this dal is a famous dish in South India.

Health benefits: Among other pulses, horse gram is the best source of calcium. It also has high protein content, low in fat, and lipid and sodium content, and is suitable for those who have diabetes or suffer from obesity. It is however high in carbohydrates.


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