1. Health & Lifestyle

How Pulses Help to Prevent and Suppress Cancer

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Variety of pulses
Variety of pulses

The area where I live, about 8 people have died within a span of one year; no, not due to Coronavirus, but due to cancer! This is just the area where I live. I have seen more deaths by cancer than by any other disease in many other locations too.  

The world celebrated World Cancer Day on February 4. Each year, millions of people succumb to cancer and millions more are diagnosed with various stages of cancer around the world. It is not wrong to say that, in the modern world, cancer has become as common as common cold.  

And this is alarming. Wasn’t cancer supposed to be some big serious disease that happened once in a blue moon to some people?  

Unfortunately, cancer has become a “next-door” disease. Ever visited a Cancer hospital? God forbid you should never! But I have. Not as a cancer patient (and I thank God for this), but as a cancer patient attendant. And I will tell you that I have seen hell and how people suffer in it.  

But you might wonder why I am talking about cancer here.  

Cancer and diet are related. What you eat, your body cells absorb. And cancer is nothing but an abnormal behavior of body cells. Think of them as becoming “insane” or “mad.” 

  • Normal body cells grow and divide. Then undergo apoptosis (death) as per the programming of the body.  

  • Cancer cells grow and divide. But they do not undergo apoptosis (death). They continue to grow and divide. This results in abnormal cell growth in the body.  

Pulses and cancer 

You may have heard and read doctors almost everywhere advising daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. You must eat 4-5 servings of fruits and veggies every day.  

According to a presentation released by AEGIC, a collaborative initiative by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Western Australian state government, consumption of legumes regularly in the diet help to reduce risk of colorectal cancer. A meta-analysis was done of cohort studies and this was concluded.  

How pulses work in reducing risk of cancer 

When legumes germinate, their Vitamin C increases. In some, niacin and riboflavin also increase. In addition, enzymes like protease, lipase, phytase, and amylase also increase.  

When legumes are heated (as in cooking), nutrients become more available for absorption by the body.  

According to studies, pulses control and prevent a range of metabolic diseases. A survey study suggests that people eating pulses more in their diet show a decreased rate of cancer risk. Pulses have a series of constituents that help to prevent and suppress cancer.  

Phyto-constituents of Pulses that make them Anti-Cancer in Nature  

 

Phyto-constituents of Pulses 

1.  

Protein 

2. 

Phytosterols  

3. 

Fatty Acids 

4. 

Oligosaccharides 

5. 

Selenium 

6. 

Dietary Fibers 

7. 

Resistant Starch 

8. 

Phytic Acid 

9. 

Saponins 

10. 

Polyphenols 

(Source: Article “An Insight of Pulses: From Food to Cancer Treatment” by Vohra et al, Department Pharmaceutical Sciences, Maharishi Dayanand University, India; published in Journal of Pharmacognosy & Natural Products) 

There are pulses for weight loss too.  

Pulses, beans, lentils 

  • Pulses and lentils are dried seeds, which are harvested from mature plants that have dried.  

  • Beans are green vegetables. Certain beans can be sprouted and eaten.  

  • Pulses, beans, and lentils are eaten all over the world, but the cooking styles are different.  

Making a habit of eating dal (pulses)  

In India, many people do not consume pulses daily in their diet. World Pulses Day is on Feb 10. It’s time we acknowledged the importance of pulses in the diet. Simply eating “roti and sabzi” is not enough. At least, try to have one bowl of dal every day, either at lunch or dinner. And if not, eat them every alternate day.  

And if this is also not possible, ensure to have dal atleast twice a week, not less than this.  

Know about the top 5 dals you must include in your diet daily.  

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