Dal is a huge constituent of the Indian diet, whether people consume it consciously or not. There are a number of dishes made with dal - be it khichdi - rice cooked with lentils and spices, Indian flatbreads, soups, curries, and even everyone's favourite Maggi noodles, all have these dal lentils present in them. There are many types of dal, and each one is used differently for different dishes, and there are various benefits of dal to the human system.
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Let's discuss the different types of dal available in India, and the benefits of dal lentils in detail:
Types of Dal
Since dal lentils are so commonly used in Indian kitchens, there are various types of dal. Mentioned below are the various types of dal and their ingredients:
1. Moong Dal
Moong dal or mung beans are green seeds with yellow insides. These seeds are one of the most popular types of dal, and can be found commonly in most Indian kitchens, and have been a part of Indian dishes for hundreds of years. These can be eaten in many ways - whole, with the skin removed or split in half. Mung dal with their skins removed is a commonly used ingredient and is a favourite of many, especially in sweet dishes.
2. Urad Dal
The urad dal lentils, often confused for the mung dal, is black on the outside with white interiors and is also one of the types of dal that is used almost every day in our homes. These lentils become very thick and slimy when cooked and give off a delicious flavour. One of the most famous Indian dishes, dal makhni, is cooked with these lentils. Another common delicious Indian snack that is cooked with these lentils is the papad or pappadum.
[You might want to try: A Classic, Punjabi Dal Makhni Recipe]
3. Masoor Dal
Masoor dal is one of the most commonly used types of dal and is used mostly in north Indian kitchens. Dishes like dal curry, soups and stews are made using these lentils. Masoor dal, which is brown on the outside and orange on the inside, has a very earthy and pleasant flavour.
4. Toor Dal
Tuvar or toor dal lentils, otherwise known as pigeon pea, is one among the popular types of dal in India, especially in Gujarati households. The famous Gujarati dal curry, which requires the perfect combination of sour, sweet and spicy, is made from these lentils. These lentils have a distinct nutty flavour and are full of nutrients.
5. Channa Dal
Channa dal lentils, or sprouts, as they are otherwise called, is one of those types of dal that gives you the best of both worlds, great taste and good for health, as well as low in calories. Found commonly in the channa masala curry, or sprouts curry, this is one of those versatile types of dal lentils that can be used in a variety of dishes.
[You must try this yummy dal recipe: Panchmel Dal Recipe]
Now that we've learned about the 5 major types of dal, let's take a look at the benefits of dal and how good it is for your body:
Benefits of Dal
This simple ingredient commonly found in all Indian kitchen is filled with all sorts of nutrients and has many health benefits:
1. Dal is an excellent source of protein
One of the greatest benefits of dal is that is it an amazing source of protein, and since a great majority of the Indian population is vegetarian in their diet, this makes for a great substitute to non-vegetarian proteins like meat.
2. Dal is great for digestion
Another one of the best benefits of dal is that it is rich in dietary fiber, which makes it good for digestion and removing out the waste materials from your system. Hence, if you are suffering from indigestion or constipation, consuming these lentils is better than any medicine.
3. Helps in boosting energy
Dal lentils are rich in iron, and hence one of the best benefits of dal is that it helps in increasing your energy, as iron stimulates the production of red blood cells which are essential in the distribution of oxygen to all the parts of your body. Iron also helps in curing anaemia, which causes tiredness and fatigue.
4. It's good for diabetics
One of the most important benefits of dal is that it is a vital ingredient in the diet of diabetic patients. As dal lentils are rich in fiber, they help to control the control the sugar levels of diabetic people and prevent it from spiking up or falling too low.
5. Helps to boost bone mineral density
One of the important benefits of dal is the fact that dal lentils are full of important minerals for the body such as iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. All of these minerals are important for improving the overall density of your bones. This is one of the most important benefits of dal because as the body grows older, it is prone to diseases such as osteoporosis, and our bones grow weaker making them more prone to breaking. Thus, dal is very important for overall bone health.
6. Great for your skin
It's no secret that many ayurvedic skin care products use dal lentils as one of their core ingredients. The presence of iron helps circulates oxygen to the face and one of the other important benefits of dal, especially for those of you that are skin conscious, is that it helps in the reduction of dark spots and pigments on the face. So if you're looking to have a flawless face, make sure to include dal lentils in your diet.
7. It's good for your heart's health
Who doesn't want a healthy heart? Hence, one of the important benefits of dal is that the nutrients of dal lentils like potassium, magnesium and iron all help to keep your cardiovascular system strong and healthy. Potassium is also known to reduce the tension present in your veins and arteries, and iron helps in the circulation of blood in your heart. So, dal is an important ingredient to keep in your diet if you want your heart to be healthy.
Thus, keeping all these amazing health benefits of dal in mind, do make sure you include dal lentils regularly in your diet and make most of the wonderful benefits of dal.