People often talk about diabetes and how it is affected by the consumption of rice. In all fairness, that is true, but you should not forget that diabetes is affected by other dietary components as well. The fact that rice has maximum impact on diabetics, people are so engrossed in it that they forget what else is on their plate.
As a person with diabetes, you should understand that your blood sugar fluctuates with almost everything you eat. And that includes pulses as well. You need to start making smart choices and incorporate low glycemic index pulses in your diet.
It is of no surprise that pulses are full of benefits. They are naturally a better and healthier option than most of the food that you consume.
They are rich in fiber and proteins. In addition to this, they have lower concentrations of fat and are incredibly filling.
But what most people fail to notice is that pulses have a low glycemic index. This means that pulses are diabetes-friendly as well.
Now, the question to think over is that whether all pulses or are good for diabetes. If not all, which dal is good for diabetes?
This article revolves around answering this million-dollar question of diabetics.
Pulses do have a considerable amount of carbohydrates in them. But the presence of proteins and fibers prevent carbohydrates from causing a sudden rise in blood sugar level. It naturally makes pulses an excellent choice for a person with diabetes.
Most people do not count the carbohydrates present in pulses because the proteins and fibers make it difficult for the digestive system to separate the carbohydrates from pulses. Unless you consume pulses in vast quantities, it does not pose a threat to your body.
As mentioned earlier, pulses naturally have a low glycemic index. But we need to understand which pulses are better than others.
Super 7 Benefits of Involving Pulses to Your Diet
Not being able to control rising blood sugar levels is a nightmare for every person fighting diabetes. You might be struggling to find a reliable way to regulate your blood sugar but surprisingly, there is a panacea residing in your very own kitchen. Yes, we are talking about pulses you are already eating daily or many times a week.
Many people eat pulses just because they have been a part of traditional Indian meals since ages, others eat just to satisfy the hunger or for the sake of filling the protein void in their balanced diet makeup.
But pulses do much more for you. Want to know about their benefactions in detail? Keep reading with us.
1. Pulses have a low glycemic index
Low GI foods are the favorite of diabetics. But don’t jump out of joy after knowing this and rush up to eat tonnes of dal at once. It will still harm you. Wisdom says first you should know your preferred calorie count and only eat that much portion of pulses which is safe for you.
Pulses, unless eaten in excessive quantity, will hopefully prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
2. Pulses are enriched with fibers
Fibers are adept at optimizing the activity of the digestive system. Being loaded with ample amounts of soluble fibers, you are protected from uncontrolled cholesterol, risk of heart-related diseases, obesity, and unnecessary cravings, all at once. Not to forget, fibers slow down the process of glucose absorption from food into blood.
3. Pulses Help to Hit Five-a-Day Target
It is found that three tablespoons of pulses are adequate for providing the same nutritional content as the body acquires from a single serving of fruits and vegetables.
The only thing that bothers here is pulses fulfill the body’s requirements for proteins but fail to suffice the need for vitamins and minerals. For this, you need to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as well. Everything is having its irreplaceable importance.
4. Pulses Keep You Full for Hours
Good news for people who are going low-diet but find it difficult to eat less. Fibers in pulses suppress extra cravings that hinder your dieting. The food is retained in your stomach for longer hours, impelling you to eat less frequently. This ensures that you don’t put up more weight than required.
5. Pulses are a low-fat food
If you are suffering from heart-related ailments or conscious about maintaining good heart health, then pulses serve as a wonderful option for you. Apart from low-fat food, they are also a part of the low-carb diet. You can distant off many diseases at once.
6. Pulses Are Rich Source of Proteins
Proteins are essentially needed by the body. They help in growth, repairing damaged tissues, mental development, and many more processes. People with diabetes need proteins as they can’t rely on carbohydrate-based diet.
If you are a non-vegetarian who struggles to find high-protein alternatives, pulses are here as an exigent solution for you, blowing away all your struggles.
7. Pulses Are Budget-Friendly
Imagine getting a health-friendly commodity with great accessibility and pocket-friendly price. Pulses make you live this imagination in real! These are easily found in any local store within an affordable price range. Moreover, these are super easy to cook and the taste is awesome as well.
We have discussed enough reasons to shake hands with pulses. Especially for diabetics, pulses are the superfoods which act as a remedy for regulating blood glucose levels besides giving energy to the body for performing everyday functions
Here is a list of pulses which are best for a diabetic diet.
1. Bengal Gram
Also known as Chana Dal, Bengal Gram has the lowest glycemic index of 8.
Chana Dal tastes great and is available at a reasonable price. Besides having a low glycemic index, Bengal gram has high quantities of fiber and protein. It is an excellent supplement to meat and animal proteins.
Chana dal also keeps your cholesterol level low and ensures that you do not fall victim to malnutrition. Besides that, it also strengthens your hair and clears up your skin. The folic acid present in pulses helps your body generate new red blood cells, thus preventing anemia.
Rajma or Kidney bean is another great food to incorporate in a diabetic’s meal. Rajma is known for its high energy protein content. Regular consumption of Rajma is sure to keep you energized.
We know that Rajma doesn’t belong to the dal category typically, but it is a must-have legume for every diabetic. When it comes to rich protein content with rich taste, no one can beat kidney beans so easily.
With a glycemic index of 19, rajma is an excellent choice to include in the diabetes meal plan. With this low glycemic index, not only does it make an ideal choice for blood sugar control but it also helps you control weight.
Rajma beans do not release all their carbohydrate in one go. After digestion, there is a slow release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. It does not alarm your system and helps you keep your blood sugar level in check.
Besides this, Rajma helps preserve heart health and prevent cancer. Overall, Rajma is a great choice for diabetes patients.
3. Moong Dal
Moong dal is known to people as a green pulse. Most people consume it while raw. There is little need to cook, and the best thing is the exterior coat contains a lot of nutrients.
But the best thing about Moong dal is that it has a glycemic index of 43. It is significantly higher than the earlier mentioned dal varieties. Yet, it is very beneficial for you.
It causes a slow release of carbohydrates, which prevents any sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Other than this, Moong dal is a surplus food for pregnant women. It assists in the proper development of the fetus.
Moreover, it helps in maintaining weight and improving heart health. It is full of micro and macronutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, and copper.
The rich protein content and high fiber are responsible for the slow release of carbohydrates. This is why Moong dal is an ideal choice for diabetes patients.
4. Urad Dal
Just like Moong Dal, Urad Dal also has a low glycemic index of 43. It forms a significant constituent of idli and dosa. Urad dal is a while and has an overall bland taste and coarse texture.
Urad dal can be extremely beneficial for diabetes patients. It has high fiber content which regulates the release of carbohydrates in the bloodstream.
In addition to this, the potassium present in Urad dal prevents unnecessary constriction of blood vessels. It helps control blood pressure.
Other beneficial features of Urad Dal include weight management and prevention of cancer. It also helps prevent anemia since it is rich in iron. The iron promotes the production of newer red blood cells.
Chickpeas have a low glycemic index of 33. It is partially sweet and leaves a smooth taste in your mouth. Most people consume boiled chickpeas. The fibers present in chickpeas control the release of carbohydrates. Which means you don’t need to worry about your blood sugar levels.
Chickpea is much appreciated for its high vitamin content and mineral reserves. It has iron, phosphorus, and folic acid. Chickpea is an overall satisfying food. It is usually consumed in the form of gravy chole or hummus. The unique taste of chickpeas is what makes hummus and ideal dip for almost everything.
6. Masoor Dal
The typical red dal, or commonly known as Masoor dal is already an essential part of an Indian diet. But most people are unaware that Masoor dal has a low glycemic index of only 25.
Masoor dal is often consumed in the form of curry and paratha. But the low carbohydrate and high fiber content ensure that your blood sugar level is in control. The high concentration of minerals and vitamins makes sure that your body’s nutrient needs are met.
Moreover, the high fiber content ensures that you do not face frequent episodes of constipation.
Do’s and Don’t
- Always wash the pulses before cooking
- Don’t eat pulses with pickles, instead try it with homemade coriander chutney
- Don’t add too much desi ghee to your dal
- Make sure your portion size doesn’t stretch the range of your permitted calorie levels (because pulses also contain some amount of carbohydrates)
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some popularly asked questions regarding pulses and diabetes across the internet. This is our response to it.
Can diabetics eat beans?
Despite containing carbohydrates, beans are low in terms of glycemic index score. You can eat them even if you are diagnosed with diabetes. Rather they offer several benefits for diabetes which you must reap. Beans are full of good fibers and proteins as well as loaded with vitamins and minerals like folates, calcium, iron, that the body needs. Some best beans to consume during diabetes are:
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Navy beans
- White beans
- Lima beans
The only possible side effect that can be seen in some people might be the occurrence of problems like bloating, stomach aches, that arise when the body cant tolerate high amounts of fibers. It is advisable to start with a lower amount of beans on your plates.
Do lentils raise blood sugar levels?
Definitely not. What happens is just opposite to what is being asked. Rather, lentils slow down the digestion and release of sugars. The slowing down of the absorption process impedes blood sugar spikes after meals. That’s why lentils must be a part of your diabetic diet.
How do I cook pulses for diabetes?
No sort of changes needs to be made in the cooking process. Cook pulses the similar way as you are doing it normally. However, take care of the dos and don’ts we mentioned above.
These are certain things in your home kitchen that can help to improve your diabetic health, pulses are one of them.
Dealing with diabetes means a lot more than just rice and other carbohydrate sources. You should also incorporate an adequate amount of exercise and recreational activities into your routine.
These varieties of dal will help you take the first step towards making your diabetic life a little simpler.