Pulses- the vegetarian bodybuilder- II


Germination of whole grams are soaked overnight and water is drained away and the seeds are tied in a loosely woven cloth and hung. Water should be sprinkled twice or thrice daily. In a day or two germination takes place. Moisture and warmth are essential for germination.


● Nutritive value is improved as starches and proteins are converted into simpler substances and the ratio of essential to non essential amino acids.

● During sprouting minerals like calcium, zinc and iron are released from bound form.

● Riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, choline and biotin contents are increased.

● Vitamin C is synthesized during germination and hence germinated pulses can be substituted for fruits.

● Sprouting decreases cooking time.

● It decreases the mucus inducing property of legumes.

● Germination metabolizes oligosaccharides and hence do not

produce gas or flatulence

● It improves taste and texture

● Germination pulses add variety to the diet


Parching of pulses; legumes like bengal gram and peas are parched to give acceptable products. Bengal gram is tied in a moist cloth and kept overnight before it is parched . Peas are soaked in water for 5 minutes, dried partially in the sun for 15 minutes and then parched. Salt and turmeric powder are sometimes added to the steeping water. Parching is done in a hot iron vessel containing sand at 190-200 C for 60 - 80 seconds. Parched bengal gram has been successful in the treatment of protein calorie malnutrition in children.


Extrusion blends of cereal and legume flours are extruded at high temperature of 140-200C high pressure and moisture content of less than 20 percent. The product is cooked for a short time and the product is forced out of the extruder and dried in a conveyor.


The cooking process softens the hard seed by improving the palatability of the cell wall, facilitating the cell expansion and reduction of intracellular adhesion. Cell cementing material pectin is altered during cooking so that the cells as beans separate with ease.


● Cooking reduces the anti nutritional factors like trypsin inhibitors, hemagglutinins and polyphenolic compounds.

● Heating increases the protein quality by destroying anti nutritional factors, increasing digestibility and availability of amino acids.

● Cooking has little effect on the mineral content of pulses.

● Loss of thiamine may occur due to heat applied.


Due to cooking there are many alterations which takes place in pulses and legumes

● The hardness of the seed coat is important as the hard shell does not absorb water during soaking. Some varieties of legumes are hard to cook varieties.

● Cooking quality is influenced by time, temperature and relative humidity during storage.

● Cooking time increases with the increase in seed maturity.

● Dehulling reduces the cooking time by 70% and increases digestibility

● Hard to cook conditions can be eliminated by soaking seeds in a salt solution consisting of 1% NaCl and baking soda.

● Phytin has a softening action on peas during cooking by acting as calcium absorbent.

● Hard water affects the cooking time as these are high in calcium and magnesium content. Enzyme treatment may facilitate the cooking process or addition of sodium bicarbonate softens the cellulose and speeds up cooking.

There are different roles and factors of pulses in cooking.

● Pulses are rich in protein and B vitamins and improve the quality of cereal protein.

● Pulses give satiety due to high protein and fiber

● Pulses improve flavor and consistency of dal.

● They contribute to fermentation

● They are used in salads as sprouts

● They are used in snacks like bhelpuri, panipuri etc.

● They are used as thickening agents and prevent

curdling e.g; bengal gram flour in kadi.

● They are used as a stuffing agent in puran poli.

● They are also used as seasonings.


Trypsin inhibitors are proteins that inhibit the activity of trypsin in the gut and interfere with their digestibility of dietary proteins and reduce their utilization. The release of essential amino acids is hampered by the presence of inhibitors. Heat treatment is necessary to inactivate trypsin inhibitors.


Lathyrogens; lathyrism is a nervous disease that cripples as a result of consumption of kesari dal. The symptoms are muscular rigidity, weakness and paralysis of the leg muscle. The toxins in the pulse can be reduced by steeping and parboiling


Favism is characterized by haemolytic anemia that occurs when broad beans are consumed by those who lack glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme. Germinating and boiling reduces these toxic substances.


Hemagglutinins are proteins in nature and sometimes referred to as phyto agglutinins or lectins. They occur in leguminous seeds. They reduce the food intake resulting in poor growth.

Saponins produce lather or foam when shaken with water . They are present in soybeans. It causes nausea and vomiting. They can be eliminated by soaking before cooking.


Goitrogens are substances which interfere with iodine uptake of thyroid gland. Thiocyanate, isocyanates are present in soybean, groundnuts and lentils. Excessive intake may lead to precipitation of goiter.


Tannins are condensed polyphenolic compounds. They are present in high amounts in seed coats of legumes. Tannins bind with iron and interfere with iron absorption. It also interferes with digestive action of trypsin and binds protein and reduces their availability. Removal of husk or seed coat lowers the tannin content and improves the appearance, texture, cooking quality, palatability, digestibility of the grain and bioavailability of nutrients.


Thanks Giving

This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Shrushti Mehta.

We thank her for her research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about health and nutrition being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.

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