Haleem is a favourite dish for many Pakistanis, especially on festive occasions.
Cooked with a variety of ingredients such as wheat, barley, lentils, and your choice of meat, haleem is not only delicious, but it is also a nutrient powerhouse:
Rich in protein. Thanks to the presence of protein rich lentils, haleem is the perfect post-work out snack, as it helps rebuild muscle and tissue. Loaded with carbohydrates (when rice is added to it), haleem aids in replenishing depleted energy levels, helping you stay sharp and focused, making it a wholesome and healthy mid-day meal.
Packed with dietary fibre. Barley and wheat – essential ingredients of haleem – contain substantial amounts of dietary fibre which promotes digestion, and maintains a healthy intestinal lining. Since consuming fibre keeps you feeling full for longer, it is a good food to add to diet plans for weight loss.
Loaded with potassium. Ginger, garlic and turmeric are haleem essentials and contain large amounts of potassium, which is why it is recommended to people suffering from chronic high blood pressure and kidney-related ailments. The presence of potassium also promotes heart health, reducing the risk of cardiac disease, as well as lowering anxiety and stress levels. Furthermore, when it is not eaten with rice (which contains starch), haleem can help in stabilising blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Contains sodium.Traditional haleem is cooked with a generous dose of salt, the primary component of which is sodium. In moderate amounts, sodium performs the essential functions of transmitting nerve impulses that control your reaction time, as well as ensuring proper muscle contraction needed for movement.
Remember, while haleem has myriad health benefits, people suffering from cardiovascular disease should ensure that only trace salt amounts are added. And, of course, that cooking oil is used sparingly – for the sake of everyone’s health.
– Saba Gul Hasan
The writer is a nutritionist.