LENTILS ARE LIKELY TO BEAT HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: NEW RESEARCH
A new study has found that adding lentils to your daily diet can help reduce high blood pressure. The study, led by Dr Peter Zahradka from the University of Manitoba, also suggested that consuming pulses like beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas can reverse the changes that happen in blood vessels due to high BP.
Zahradka said that the results of the study are amazing, since they provide a non-pharmacological way of treating diseases associated with blood vessel dysfunction. Zahradka added that the most notable finding of the study was the fact that lentils could alter the physical properties of blood vessels so that they resembled the vessels found in healthy animals.
Earlier studies revealed eating legumes – specifically a mixture of beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas – could improve blood flow to the legs of people with peripheral artery disease, a condition which is closely linked to coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease; and that lentils were effective in blocking high blood pressure.
Human studies will still be needed to confirm these findings.
However, Dr Julianne Curran, director of nutrition, scientific and regulatory affairs for Pulse Canada, the national association representing growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulse crops, said: “Lentils could be part of a simple, cost-effective dietary strategy to improve cardiovascular disease.”
Health Benefits of Lentils (Dals)
All dals have about 70% carbohydrates and 30% proteins. But these proteins are not complete proteins as found in non-veg foods. When combined with roti/rice, the dal protein becomes complete, excellent for vegetarians to meet their protein needs and maintain muscle health.
Dals also have resistant starch which acts like fibre in the body and helps control blood sugar levels, clears bowels, aids in weight loss, etc.
Toor dal: Toor dal is light and yummy. Apart from protein and fibre, it contains folic acid which helps prevent anaemia and is also important for pregnant women as it is essential for foetal development and can help prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. It is low in calories so is good for people who are on weight loss diets. It also helps control blood sugar levels.
Moong dal: When you think of dal rice, the first thing that comes to your mind is moong dal which is commonly known as yellow dal. It is used for making the legendary dal tadka and dal fry. Moong dal is a dieter-friendly dal rich in iron and potassium. Iron helps maintain haemoglobin levels and potassium helps reduce blood pressure, a boon for hypertensive people. It is extremely light and can be easily eaten when you fall ill and even by pregnant women. Moong dal is used for making soups, stews and purees. Boiled moong dal is also used for making delicious spicy parathas.
Chana dal: A variety of dal which is deliciously thick. Chana dal is rich in B-vitamins which help energise you. It is full of fibre which helps diabetics to control their blood sugar levels. It also has potassium and folic acid. The fibre in it helps lower cholesterol levels preventing heart problems.
Masoor dal: Just like the other dals, masoor dal helps reduce blood sugar levels especially controlling the blood sugar spikes after a meal, controls hypertension, prevents anaemia and lowers cholesterol. It can be cooked with vegetables, spinach, pulao or added in your chicken or vegetable soup.
Urad dal: It is commonly used by south Indians to make dosa, idlis, etc along with rice making it a complete source of protein. Urad dal is rich in iron, folate, fibre, potassium. It is also a good source of calcium which is important for vegetarians and elderly people who require high amounts of calcium for maintaining bone health. It also boosts your energy and keeps you active.
In order to gain maximum benefits of these dals, have 2 servings of dals/pulses per day. You can also add dals to your soups, rotis, tikkis, salads, etc. Alternate between the various types to get essential nutrients from all of them.