Dal: The Complete Guide | Protein Content In Dal
Legumes are plants from the Fabaceae family, including the entirety of the pods, stems, and leaves. A pulse is the edible seeds of the legume plants. The three types of pulses are beans, lentils, and peas.
Dal usually refers to the split version of the lentils. They can be either whole or split, depending on how difficult it is to dehusk and mill them. Dal is an incredible protein source, especially for vegetarians.
It is also one of the cheapest to buy:) Given the large number of vegetarians in India, it becomes even more imperative to include dal in our diets to meet our protein needs. Besides protein, lentils or dal are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. They also contain many vitamins and minerals.
Dals are a staple part of our foods since times immemorial. We can exploit this superfood to not only prepare healthy meals but also, in turn, contribute to a more sustainable environment.
Let’s now look at the different types of dal and their protein content.
Types Of Dals
Moong Dal (Green Gram)
This olive-green colored native bean lends mouthwatering. Payasam delicacy has a nutritious touch with its high fiber content and richness of protein. Moong dal is milled but not husked completely; therefore, it retains its green color outside but is off-white inside.
Research shows foods high in fiber & protein can regulate ghrelin, the hunger hormone, thus aiding in weight loss. It is also stuffed with the goodness of antioxidants and has high folate levels. Doctors recommend folate-rich foods for expecting mothers to avoid the risk of any congenital disabilities.
The sprouted version of the bean provides fewer calories and has an even better nutritional profile. Sprouting reduces the level of phytic acid considerably. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient, as it impairs mineral absorption. It is no surprise that a large part of the populace finds comfort in the pure soul-satisfying Moong dal khichdi.
Protein in moong dal 100g (raw)-24g
Popular Recipes-Moong dal cheela, Moong dal khichdi, Moong dal halwa
Arhar Dal (Pigeon Peas)
Despite the diversity of the food culture all over India, this dal remains a staple across the country. This surely serves as a testament to the popularity of the dal. Another name for Arhar dal is Toor dal.
Arhar dal is a balanced source of macronutrients – providing complex carbs, sufficient fiber, moderate protein, and the low GI benefits of keeping blood sugar levels in check. Arhar dal is used in the treatment of inflammation, and also adequate folate levels help to counteract anemia.
Protein in arhar dal 100g (raw)-22g
Popular Recipes-Dal Tadka, Dal Fry, Rasam, Sambhar
Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)
This red/pink color dal is a powerhouse of nutrients that is extremely low in fat (about 1g fat per 100g) and high in complex carbs (60g per 100g). The unsplit version is brown in color and is called Sabut Masoor. The exterior color of its husk is brown.
The nutritional scorecard looks remarkable after considering the nutrients received from the micronutrients, especially potassium and magnesium. Potassium helps in maintaining fluid levels and also thwarts the disruptive effects of a high sodium diet.
Besides assisting in enzyme reactions, magnesium also helps in regulating blood sugar levels. As per a recent study, including adequate magnesium in foods can help reduce heart disease and stroke.
Protein in masoor dal 100g (raw)-24g
Popular Recipes-Masoor Dal Tadka
Urad Dal (Split Black Gram)
If you love steamy idlis and crispy dosas, you owe a shout-out to the super nutritious split black gram. This prized dal is highly revered by Ayurvedic and allopathic practitioners alike.
The high protein content (25g per 100g) and the complex carbohydrates (59g per 100g) from this inexpensive source can be a good option if you are looking to pack on some serious muscle mass.
It is a valuable source of iron and helps counteract fatigue, and also promotes vitality. The extensive range of micronutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, helps improve bone mineral density while maintaining good overall bone health as well.
Additionally, Ayurveda recommends various decoctions of this dal for skincare, reducing inflammation and improving sperm count for males.
My dad is a big fan of the Urad dal, whereas I personally like the black gram- the unsplit version of this dal, also fondly called Kali Dal (kali means black, which is the outer color of the husk).
Protein in urad dal 100g (raw)-25g
Popular Recipes-Dal Makhani, Medu Vada, Dosa, Idly
If racehorses are fed with this lentil to improve their speed and strength, there is little doubt that this will lentil will fall short of being a superfood.
According to the Global Journal of Pharmacy, horsegram has one of the highest protein content among lentils(~24%) and also tops the calcium content(~287mg per 100 g) amongst pulses. This high-protein lentil has copious amounts of starchy complex carbohydrates (~57%) as well.
Horsegram contains more than two inhibitors of the crystallization of calcium phosphate salts. The crystallization of calcium phosphate salts is one of the leading causes of kidney stones. Soup prepared from freshly harvested seeds can help counteract kidney stones.
Additionally, consumption of this lentil has decreased LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol, which takes cholesterol to your arteries) while raising the beneficial HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol, which pushes out excess cholesterol. Horsegram is known by many other names and is not limited to madras gram, gahat, and kalai. It is popular in the Southern Indian States.
Protein in horsegram 100g (raw)-25g
Popular Recipes-Horsegram Sprout Salad, Kulith Dal
Conclusion And My Recommendations
Dals are high in complex carbohydrates, contain high-quality proteins, and are loaded with fiber (both soluble and insoluble). They also contain varying amounts of vitamins and minerals. They are incredibly versatile, and hundreds of varieties of tasty and delicious dishes can be prepared with them.
They are super-affordable and are readily available all around the world! Even if you are a hardcore meat lover, I hope I have convinced you enough to include these nutritional powerhouses in your diet 🙂
Besides the nutritional standpoint, they are suitable for the environment in the long run as well. Pulses have a low carbon footprint, are water-efficient, super affordable, and improve soil quality.
This is indeed the revolutionary food we are looking forward to helping us feed the world. In a quest to make ourselves lean & healthy and this world a better place, let’s give these little humble seeds the respect they deserve.
What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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About Akash Sehrawat
Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.