India And Pulses: A History
Pulses are among the oldest cultivated plants. Fossil records show that even the prehistoric people cultivated beans for food. Today, this vast categorization of plant-based food, supplies proteins and calories to the entire population.
Legumes rapidly spread across the globe, and got diversified into the fantastic number of species that exists today.
The incredible significance of legumes
The legumes and pulses belong to the botanical family Leguminosae which comprises of – soy, rajma (kidney beans), moong beans, lima beans, Kabuli chana (garbanzo beans), peas, dals and peanuts.
Pulses demonstrate impressive health benefits. In fact, diets high in pulses are being increasingly used to reduce cholesterol levels, keep blood pressure stable, stave off heart attacks and manage diabetes mellitus.
Apart from the enormous health advantages, bean plants are very vital for another reason as well. Legumes are the only plants which can acquire and tap nitrogen from the atmosphere through the action of certain specific bacteria which dwell in the nodules on their roots. This tapped nitrogen is utilized to manufacture the protein that makes itself available to us when we consume the beans. Significantly, when the legume plant dies, the nitrogen goes back in to the soil, thereby helping other plants grow as well as kindling soil fertility.
The story of the great Indian legume!
Paleohistory demonstrates that legumes were being cultivated in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago; indicating that by this time man had worked out that pulses can be eaten by soaking, cooking, fermenting, and sprouting.
In India, pulses have been cultivated by farmers for approximately 4000 years. Whilst, toor dal (pigeon pea), urad dal (black gram), moong dal (green gram), moth bean, and chana dal (horse gram) , unequivocally have their origin in India, there is some ambiguity about whether the chickpea and lentils have originated here. Most other legumes were brought to India and some are cultivated, while some we continue to import.
Nutritional value of pulses
Pulses are nutrient-dense foods. The nutrition profile of each bean may vary slightly. However, all of them supply enormous amounts of protein, huge doses of fibre and a host of potent antioxidants. On an average, 100gms of cooked dal may contain up 20grams of proteins and 5 to 15 grams of fibre along with carbohydrates and fat as major nutritional components.
Legumes are immensely popular in culinary circles these days, and you can enjoy them in a whole lot of novel and innovative ways! Most people believe pulses and lentils can only be an ingredient of soups and curries but there are chefs who have been dishing up fabulous, delectable bean-based desserts as well. People are increasingly using bean flour in cookies, brownies cupcakes, and ice creams too. All with the goal of adding protein to their diet and staying healthy.
Try this ever-green source of dietary goodness in purest form by using Tata Sampann’s range of Dals.
"A Diet Containing Food Rich in Soluble and Insoluble Fibre Improves Glycemic Control and Reduces Hyperipidemia", Nutr Rev.
This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s). Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s).