1. Health & Lifestyle

Top 5 Dals You Must Include in Your Diet Daily

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Moong dal or Green gram
Moong dal or Green gram

Is a classical Indian meal complete without a bowl of piping hot dal? Pulses/dals are an integral part of an Indian cuisine. And there are countless ways you can prepare a dal dish.

Add a dollop of ghee in a bowl of steaming hot dal. Slurp a spoonful of this heavenly dish! And how tantalizing is the aroma when the dal is given a “tadka” of cracking jeera (cumin) and hing (asafetida)!

Already feeling hungry?

Whether it is dal makhani of North India, khatti meethi dal of Gujarat, amti dal of Maharashtra, or sambar of the South, dal is one of the most revered foods in Indian diet.

It is a chief source of protein for vegetarians.

Let’s have a glimpse of the top 5 dals that everybody, especially vegetarians, must have in their daily diet.

1. Moong Dal/Green Gram

Many people love to eat this green gram/moong dal as sprouts. Others may like to eat it as cooked dal. You can also find moong dal “namkeen” packets in the market. Some people also make moong dal pakodis. This gram is available as whole dal, split dal, and yellow dal without skin.

Moong dal khichdi is a popular Indian dish. Pair it with either curd, pickle, or “papad.” And don’t forget to add a spoonful of ghee in a plateful of piping hot khichdi!

Nutrients:

Moong dal is rich in protein, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, zinc, folate vitamins, and dietary fiber.

Qualities:

  • This is the most easily digestible dal. Even people who have diarrhea are advised to take this dal cooked as a watery soup (“dal ka paani”). Moreover, you can have this dal at night. Usually, doctors advise against eating dal for dinner due to their high protein content.

  • It helps to regulate blood sugar, so is a great choice for diabetics.

  • It has no cholesterol, so is great for people wanting to lose weight. It is good for heart.

  • It helps to manage PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome) symptoms.

Dhuli urad dal

2. Urad Dal/Black Gram

Black gram/urad dal is available as whole gram (“sabut urad”), split gram, and white deskinned gram (“dhuli urad”). The famous dal makhani contains this dal.

Urad dal is an important ingredient of dosa, idli, dahi vada, and other such delicacies.

Nutrients:

Urad dal is rich in protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and Vitamins A and C.

 Qualities:

  • Urad dal is good for digestion due to its dietary fiber available in soluble and insoluble forms.

  • It enhances bone strength.

  • It regulates blood sugar, so diabetics can have it.

  • It gives you energy.

  • It is great for beautiful skin and hair.

Toor dal or Pigeon peas

3. Toor Dal/Arhar Dal/Pigeon Peas

Arhar dal or toor dal is one of the most loved dals in Indian households. This is an inevitable ingredient for preparing the delectable sambar of South India.

This yellow dal is versatile. You can add chopped vegetables like carrots, beans, or cauliflower in the dal while cooking to make a savory dal-veggie soup. Add leafy greens like spinach (“palak”) or fenugreek (“methi”) to make for an interesting and yummy dal-veggie green soup.  Or throw in some green peas for added flavor.

Nutrients:

Arhar or toor dal is rich in protein, iron, Vitamin B group, folic acid, potassium, and magnesium.

Qualities:

  • It is great for pregnant women due to its folic acid content. It can prevent neural tube defects, which are birth defects of the brain and the spine.

  • It can reduce risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease with regular intake.

Masoor dal or Red lentils

Masoor Dal/Red Lentils

Masoor dal is one of the widely cooked dals in Indian kitchens. It goes with any vegetable meal. You can make it as plain dal or even add chopped veggies in it while cooking. Many people use masoor dal instead of moong dal to make khichdi.

Nutrients:

Masoor dal is rich in protein, calcium, fiber, magnesium, folate, and Vitamin B group.

Qualities:

  • Masoor dal helps to regulate blood sugar due to high dietary fiber in it.

  • It boosts immunity.

  • It encourages skin health and corrects acne.

Chana dal or Bengal gram or Chickpeas

5. Bengal Gram Dal/ chana dal/chickpeas

Chana dal or chickpeas is available as whole dal or as split dal. You can create various recipes with this dal viz; soupy dal, mushy thick dal, roasted dal, and others.

Nutrients:

Chana dal is rich in protein, calcium, folate, zinc, and dietary fiber.

Qualities:

  • It helps to regulate blood sugar due to high fiber content.

  • It encourages healthy bones.

  • It reduces levels of cholesterol and decreases risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Conclusion:

As you can see, all dals mentioned here are great for diabetics and heart patients. They won’t make you fat, unless of course you fry them or eat them with added butter or excess ghee regularly.

For fitness freaks, the humble dal can do wonders for your protein requirement. So, instead of relying on those protein shakes, have a bowl of dal daily, along with your other natural protein sources like eggs, paneer, cheese, and/or meat.

Dals provide not only protein, but also comfort.

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