February 11, 2015

Tip #79: Who, Why and How to eat Pulses?

How could we forget   all the dietary advice we  got while growing up? 'Eat your pulses' or to put in simple way 'Have a bowl of dal every day.' Pulses include chickpeas, peas, lentils and beans. Pulses are members of the legume plant family which are grown for us to eat.

Click here for the wonderful Pulses Recipes:


Moong dal Dosa, Green Gram Gravy, Dal Fry, Wholeblack gram dosa, Thurdal Rice, Olan, Splendid Sprouts

Who should eat pulses?

Everyone can benefit from eating pulses. Pulses are high in fibre, complex carbohydrates and low in fat. These nutrients make pulses an important part of any healthy diet and can help maintain a healthy weight.

Pulses have additional benefits for people who:

  • Are overweight

  • Have diabetes

  • Have high blood cholesterol levels 

  • Tend to be constipated

  • Are vegetarians




Why should we eat Pulses?

  • Pulses are very high in fibre. They contain both soluble and insoluble fibres.

  • Soluble fibre helps lower blood cholesterol levels, while insoluble fibre helps with digestion as well as maintaining regular bowel movements. 

  • Fibre-rich foods like pulses are often more filling than other foods, helping to keep you full until your next meal. 

  • Make sure to drink enough water when adding high fibre foods like pulses to your diet! Pulses have a low glycemic index. 

  • Most of the carbohydrates in pulses are fibre and starch that prevent blood sugars from rising quickly after a meal or snack.

How to use Pulses?


Look for clean, smooth, blemish-free seeds that are consistent in both colour and size.

Be sure to check all dry pulses before rinsing or soaking. Remove pulses with shriveled or broken skins or the occasional pebble or twig.

Dry beans, whole peas and chickpeas must be soaked because their skins do not readily absorb water.

Dry lentils like moong dal, thur dal  and split peas do not need to be soaked. 


Rinse before cooking.

For every 1 cup (250 mL) of pulses, soak with 750 mL (3 cups) water.

Always discard the soaking water by putting pulses into a strainer and rinsing them well. This washes away the carbohydrates and sugars that cause gas.





Cooking tips and methods

  • Make sure your saucepan is big enough, as pulses double or triple in size during cooking.

  • To prevent foaming, add 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of oil to the cooking water.

  • Seasonings like garlic, onion or herbs can be added while cooking pulses.

  • Always cook pulses slowly, as cooking them too quickly can break the seed coats.

  • Tomatoes, vinegar or other acidic ingredients should be avoided until pulses are tender. Acids slow the cooking process.

  • Beans naturally have a toxic compound in them called phytohemagglutinin. This is destroyed by adequate cooking.