Lentils are an integral part of the daily diet in India. Rich in proteins, lentils have an earthy, nutty flavor and come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. From the south Indian staple Tuvar dal to the ‘very lite to digest’ Moong dal, to the ‘packed with power’ Chana dal, to the oft fermented Urad dal, and on to the ‘vegetarians delight’ Masoor dal; they all have their pride of place in the Indian kitchen. It is now a scientifically proven fact that eating nutrient-rich lentils can curtail several kinds of medical problems.
Compared to other legumes like Rajma, Cowpeas, Black Beans, etc., lentils have a shorter cooking time, and they don’t require to be soaked. Lentils are thus very easy to cook and a perfect addition to all meals.
Masoor dal or Red lentil is a vegetarian’s delight. Its color and flavor make it one of the tastiest lentils. It is extensively used in Ayurveda as it has several medicinal properties. Rich in antioxidants it is anti cancerous and good for anemic people. Apart from this roasted powder makes an excellent face and body scrub.
Power to lentils:
Lentils, come from the legume family and are packed with nutrition. Protein dense lentils have numerous health benefits. Not only packed with dietary fiber, folate and iron they are full of calcium, potassium, zinc, several vitamins, and niacin. Listed below are the full health benefits of lentils which will make you reach for your daily fix of dal.
Lean protein: For vegetarians, lentils are the third major source of proteins after soybeans and hemp. A cup of cooked lentils gives about 18 grams of protein. What is wonderful is that this is lean protein without any cholesterol or saturated fat. Though they do not contain all the amino acids combining them with rice or wheat provides the complete range of proteins.
Complex carbohydrates: Lentils contain a high amount of complex carbohydrates which burn slowly so that you feel fuller for longer.
Balances blood sugar: Presence of soluble fiber and manganese helps in stabilizing and balancing blood sugar levels.
Decreases blood pressure: Some good news for people with high blood pressure! The potassium, calcium, and manganese present in lentils help in lowering blood pressure.
Monitors digestive disorders: Lentils have a high amount of insoluble fiber which is great for reducing digestive disorders like constipation, flatulence, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Reduces cholesterol: Regular intake of lentils reduces arterial and blood cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of stroke and keeping your heart healthy.
Fights obesity: Full of fiber, proteins and several minerals, lentils act as a bulking agent, keeping hunger pangs at bay. They are very low in calories thus helping in weight management.
Provides energy: Lentils are full of iron and provide you with instant energy to keep you going. Eating lentils is a great way to fight fatigue, especially for women.
Fights cancer: Selenium present in lentils fights inflammation thus reducing tumors. It stimulates the production of cancer-killing cells in the body as well as helps the liver detoxify cancer causing elements. The fibers in lentils also lower the risk of colon cancer. Regular consumption of lentils also keeps breast cancer at bay.