Pulses are considered the most common and familiar food item in 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 is said, the lentil pulse holds a wide range of nutrients. Every 100grams of lentils contains 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.
Besides 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 in the blood, which shows how lentil keeps up the heart’s health. Lentils are a good source of magnesium, which supplies oxygen to 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 helps 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, 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 contains 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 cleansers because they contain a good amount of fiber which helps lessen constipation and indigestion. Potassium controls the level of sodium in the blood, while magnesium maintains the proper flow of blood, and thus takes care of the heart. Black grams also help with the growth and development of body muscles.
This type of pulse plays an important role in preventing neurological disorders. This is considered a remedy for various types of body pain and a 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, the UK, and Australia. These pulse green grams are 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 contains 25grams of protein, 63grams of carbohydrates, 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 the blood. According to specialists, having green grams regularly in food decreases the risk of heart disease by 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 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 contains 327 calories, 22.9grams of protein, 90milligrams of calcium, 55.7grams of carbohydrate, and 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 homemade bread 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 contains 17grams of protein, 360 calories, 64grams of carbohydrate, 5grams of fat, 200milliigrams of calcium, 10milligrams of iron, and 190micrograms of Vitamin A, Vitamin B-1, B-2, phosphorus, and magnesium. Chickpeas also contain a high amount of fiber that helps in curing constipation. This helps good bacteria to reside in the alimentary canal, resulting in decreased risks of colon cancer. The fiber helps remove bad cholesterol. Chickpeas can maintain energy levels for a longer period.
Every kind of pulses is a good source of protein. While being present in our daily list of foods, these pulses are consistently meeting up with our needs in nutrition.