Pulses are considered the most common and familiar food item of Bengali meals. For some Bengali people, the whole meal may seem incomplete without at least a small bit of pulse on the plate. There are several types of pulses such as green grams, lentils, black grams, grass peas, pigeon peas etc.
Different types of pulses are cooked and consumed with different types of dishes. However, no matter how it’s eaten, pulse provides various nutrients and benefits.
Lentil is considered the most common amongst pulses. For Bengali people, it is like a daily item listed right after rice. Some tend to call it “poor’s food” sarcastically. But, no matter whatever said, lentil pulse holds a wide range of nutrients. Every 100grams of lentil contain 383 calories, 1.5grams of fat, 17grams of sodium, 1397grams of potassium, 63grams of carbohydrate, 22grams of protein and 13grams of calcium. This amount of lentil also contains 45grams of magnesium, 10grams of vitamin complex and 15grams of fiber.
Beside these nutrients, lentils provide us with various health benefits. The fiber from lentils lessens risks related to heart-health and the amount of bad cholesterol from blood, which shows how lentil keeps up heart’s health. Lentils are a good source of magnesium, which supplies oxygen in blood cells and works on cleansing arteries.
Those who face digestion problems can have lentils with no worries at all. In fact, the fiber from lentils help lessen digestion and constipation problems. Many of us believe that regular consumption of lentils helps with weight-loss. The reason behind this is the fact that the protein from lentils keeps the stomach full for a long time and lessens the tendency of excessive food intake. Lentils work as a good source of iron and “Folates” for women while in pregnancy. During this period, to-be moms often suffer from anemia. Thus, lentils work as an important source of nutrients for them.
Black grams, also called “Mash-kalai Daal” in Bengali, are very nutritious and also carry good taste. This kind of pulse is most popular in the Indian subcontinents. Generally, this kind of pulse is served as a side dish along with vegetables, fish and/or meat dishes. In Bangladesh, black grams are cultivated mainly in the areas within the north and north-west sides. Black gram has almost similar demand in urban and rural areas.
Every 100grams of this kind of pulse contain 341 calories, 983 milligrams of potassium, 25grams of protein, 38milligrams of sodium, 138milligrams of calcium and 7.57milligrams of iron. It also contains Vitamin B-Complex.
Black grams also provide us with several health-benefits. They are called natural stomach cleanser, because the contain a good amount of fiber which helps lessen constipation and indigestion. Potassium controls the level of sodium in blood, while magnesium maintains proper flow of blood, and thus take care of heart. Black grams also help with growth and development of body muscles.
This type of pulse plays an important role in preventing neurological disorders. This is considered as a remedy of various types of body pain and source of prevention of various diseases. It also helps brighten the skin by removing dead skin cells.
Green grams are also a tasty kind of pulses. They have a golden color, for which they are often called “Sona Mung” or Golden Green Grams in Bengali. The origin of green grams lies within the South and Southeast Asia, along with Mid-Africa, West Indies, UK and Australia. This pulse grain is used as a component for both sweet and savory dishes. For vegetarians, green gram is a popular food item.
Besides being good in taste, green grams are also nutritious. Every 100grams of it contain 25grams of protein, 63grams of carbohydrate, 132grams of calcium, 6,74grams of iron, 25grams of Vitamin B-Complex and 189grams of magnesium.
Green Gram offers various benefits to health as well. Such as, decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol in blood. According to specialists, having green grams regularly in food decreases the risk of heart diseases up to 22%. It contains Lecithin, which, if taken in proper quantity, can help prevent the liver from storing excessive fat. Those who are thinking about getting rid of that extra fat, they can have the green grams regularly. The fiber from it decreases the tendency of overeating and the high-quality protein develops the muscle healthy and free of the fat. Vitamin C cleanses the dead cells from the body.
Grass peas are plant seeds, bright yellow in color. In many countries around the world, including Bangladesh, grass pea is a part of the main meal. Different types of dishes are prepared using grass pea. For example, Fritters made with grass peas are quite a delicacy.
Grass peas contain a good amount of calories and protein. Every 100grams of grass peas contain 327 calories, 22.9grams of protein, 90milligrams of calcium, 55.7grams of carbohydrate, 0.7grams of iron and fat.
Grass pea lessens joint pain, lack of appetite and constipation. But it should be noted that rather than a single type, different types of pulses mixed together can increase the taste overall.
Chickpeas are also a kind of pulse. These are very popular in middle-east countries as well as Asian countries. Chickpeas are generally cooked like curries and served with rice or home-made breads and chapati.
There are two types of chickpeas- Desi and Kabuli.
Desi chickpeas are mostly popular in Ethiopian, Asian countries and Iran, Mexico etc. Kabuli is well known in European countries. Kabuli is used mostly for making “Gram Flour” or Besan, which is used for preparing food items like fritters, chops etc.
Chickpeas contain a high level of nutrients as well. Every 100grams contain 17grams of protein, 360 calories, 64grams of carbohydrate, 5grams of fat, 200milliigrams of calcium, 10milligrams of iron, 190micrograms of Vitamin A, Vitamin B-1, B-2, phosphorus and magnesium. Chickpeas also contain high amount of fiber that help in curing constipation. Which helps good bacteria to reside in alimentary canal, resulting in decreased risks of colon cancer. The fiber helps remove bad cholesterol. Chickpeas can maintain energy level for a longer period.
Every kind of pulse is a good source if protein. While being present in our daily list of foods, these are consistently meeting up with our needs of nutrition.