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Kathod / Grain

"Simple nutritious diet for all"

Have you as a child been cajoled and may be even warned by your parents and grand parents to eat Kathod or pulses that has high nutritional value? Today as a grown up I realize the positives of having healthy food to stay fit and thank my parents and grand parents for making it a habit for me to have pulses. Pulses include chickpeas, beans, lentils and peas.

You will definitely agree with me when I say that nutritional factor plays very important role in health and keeping away the diseases. These legumes are high in protein and an important part of a staple diet of Indians. The protein content in them is as high as any meat. Pulses have very low glycogenic index values. A certain amount of pulses taken everyday reduces cholesterol level by almost 10 %. Therefore, they improve the prevention of coronary heart diseases in diabetic as well as healthy individuals. Meals with low glycaemic index values increase satiety and increase the control of food intake. A boon for individuals trying to loose weight.

Pulses can be ground in to flour, boiled, popped or sprouted and eaten. There are a variety of pulses and lentils consumed in India in a variety of forms. They are commonly referred to as dal in almost all parts of the country. The most common form being boiled yellow lentils that includes moong dal, channa dal, Tooyar, red chori and masoor dal. This is consumed almost everyday with other wheat or rice grain. Rajma and kabuli chana is a favorite among many kids as adults and made on regular basis or for special occasions. Some lentils such as moong beans are mostly consumed as sprouts in salads. There are some interesting recipes for pulses sweet dishes as well. They are made in abundance during the festival season.

There are many benefits for growers as well if pulses are included in the annual crop plan. They have many economic and environmental benefits apart from health benefits. Economically, it has been observed that yield of the crop following the pulse crop increases. Wheat and barley planted on stubble of pulses crop are high on protein content and in case of wheat where protein premiums are paid more turns out to be very beneficial for growers.

Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for any crop. Pulses fix their nutrient themselves from air. Therefore, no additional nitrogen fertilizers are needed. If preserved in proper conditions it can be stored for years without any harm. Increased use of pulse crops will not only significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cropping systems, that includes reduced CO2 emissions, but will also reduce N2O, CH4, NO and NO2 emissions at the different steps of manufacturing, transportation and application of products.

An interesting study shows that Horse gram a popular variety of pulses can be grown on land that is poor in mineral content. They can also be grown in hot, arid areas or semi arid areas. It can also tolerate drought conditions and the gram is rarely attacked by insects or any infection. It is usually fried and consumed or boiled.

Kathod is an easy to grow crop with many nutritional values and can be prepared with simple recipes- reason enough for all of us to adapt it in our daily diet.