Indian Khana, Made Easy

The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

November 21, 2020

Tip Six - Boost Nutrition with Food Pairings: Dal Chawal (Rice and Lentils)

 

Dosakaya pappu with rice and crispies

Dal Chawal is considered to be basic food for Indians who consume a good amount of both rice and lentils. However, did our ancestors know the importance of this food pairing?

All over India, it is a commonly practiced combination among rich and poor eaten with love or times when vegetables are not available or too expensive to buy them. Little did we know the nutrition pack and health benefits of this pack. Even though we make it and eat it routinely, these facts might make us give this poor man's food a little more appreciation next time we eat it.

Lentils fall into the category of legumes and have a row of seeds enclosed by a fibrous shell. Whole grain rice is rice that has the germ, endosperm, and bran intact, and as a result, is considered a whole grain. Let us consider their health benefits in various ways.

1. Digestive Health

Legumes such as lentils are high in dietary fiber at 16 grams per cup; whole-grain brown rice contains just 2 grams in a cup. Fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Lentils contain a higher amount of insoluble than soluble fiber, and whole grain rice contains more soluble than insoluble. Eating the two together gives you a good balance of each. Soluble fiber forms a gel in the stomach, helps reduce cholesterol, and promotes stable blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber creates bulk in the stool, which helps it pass easily and prevents constipation and other intestinal disturbances.

2. Stable Blood Sugar Levels

The glycemic index, or GI, is a chart that ranks how fast a carb-containing food elevates blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods cause a slow increase in blood sugar, which, in turn, gives you stable energy levels. High-GI foods cause a fast spike in blood sugar, which leads to a fast rise in energy, usually followed by a sudden "crash," or dip in energy. High-fiber complex carbs, such as lentils rank low on the glycemic index GI = 21 - 32 (<55). Whole-grain brown rice is in the middle-level (56-69) with a value of 68 whereas white rice falls in High Index at GI of 73. Low-GI foods have been shown to help keep type 2 diabetes under control and they also aid weight loss, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. A ranking of 55 or less out of 100 is considered low. Together consumed, rice and lentils fall in the low GI category even with white rice (lacks other nutrients removed during polishing).

3. Stronger Integumentary System

The integumentary system consists of the skin, hair, and nails. Protein is a key macronutrient needed for integumentary strength, and it also helps with immune function and muscle growth. Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein. Foods that have all the essential amino acids present are called complete proteins. Foods that lack one or more essential amino acids are called incomplete. Pairing two incomplete protein foods together, such as lentils and whole grain rice, will form a complete protein. This is important if you happen to be a vegan or strict vegetarian.

4. Energy Production & Disease Risk

Lentils and Brown rice have B-vitamins useful for digestion and minerals like manganese which are important antioxidants that help absorb free radicals that are responsible for inflammation, heart disease, and aging.

So feel proud of eating rice and lentil combined Indian dishes, like Khichdi, Pongali, Pabiyyam, and Sambhar rice (Bisibelabath). As well as rice with dal (prepared lentil dishes) with tomato, spinach, spinach and green mango, gongura or long gourd, etc. 

Pongali

 

South Indian Khichdi


Gongura pappu


Spinach and Green Mango pappu


Dosakaya pappu

You can check out the recipes of these dishes by clicking the name or by visiting our Recipes page. Be well and healthy everyone. 


*Reference: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-lentils-whole-grain-rice-2159.html