Pigeon Peas (Arhar Dal)— 11 Health Benefits, Nutritional Value, Uses, and Side-effects

Pulses are an integral part of the cuisine of India and Assam, which is an important component of a healthy meal plan. Lentil is a storehouse of good quality plant protein packed with a ton of healthy beneficial properties. One such lentil that is very rich in nutrients is the pigeon pea (Arhar Dal). This article describes the general information about the health benefits of pigeon peas [1]

What is Pigeon Pea? 

Pigeon peas are the most beneficial leguminous crop. It is commonly used in Indonesian and Indian cooking. Following its domestication in the Indian subcontinent at least 3500 years ago, its seeds have become a common food in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Oval and small leguminous crops come in various colors like brown, yellow, etc. Pigeon peas are a good source of protein. It is a healthy food. Delicious pigeon peas have many health benefits.

Benefits of Pigeon Pea

There are a variety of interesting health benefits associated with oranges, which may include the ability to stimulate growth, control blood pressure, prevent anemia, and promote heart health. It can improve digestion, help with weight loss, strengthen the immune system, increase energy, and relieve inflammation. 

Plant Description 

Pigeon pea is a perennial shrub in the Fabaceae family bred for its edible pods and seeds. The plant grows 1-2 m tall with tetras taproots. Erect and ribbed stems 15 cm in diameter. The leaves are trifoliate, changing to dark green above and silvery below. The plant produces yellow to red flowers which are 1.2-1.7 cm in diameter that develops into a fruit as seed pods. Leaflets are linear-rectangular, green or red, 2-13 cm long, and 0.5-1.7 cm wide. Each pod contains about nine seeds which are subglobose-elliptical basks. Seeds are white, cream, and brown-black in color. 

Nutritional Value per 100 g of Pigeon Pea/Arhar Dal

Nutritions Value
Energy 569 kj (136 kcal) 
Carbohydrates 23.88 g
Sugar 3 g
Dietary fiber 5.1 g
Fat 1.64 g
Protein 7.2 g

Nutritional Value of Vitamins per 100 g of Pigeon Pea/Arhar Dal 

Vitamins Quantity %DV
Thiamine (B1) 35% 0.4 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 14% 0.17 mg
Niacin (B3) 15% 2.2 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 14% 0.68 mg
Vitamin B6 5% 0.068 mg
Folate (B9) 43% 173 μg
Choline 9% 45.8 mg 
Vitamin C 47% 39 mg 
Vitamin E 3% 0.39 mg 
Vitamin K 23% 24 μg

Nutritional Value of Minerals per 100 g of Pigeon Pea/Cajanus Cajan 

Minerals Quantity %DV
Calcium 4% 42 mg
Iron 12% 1.6 mg 
Magnesium 19% 68 mg
Manganese 27% 0.574 mg
Phosphorus 18% 127 mg
Potassium 12% 552 mg 
Sodium 0% 5 mg 
Zinc 11% 1.04 mg 

Scientific Classification of Pigeon Pea/Arhar Dal

  • Kingdom: Plantae 
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Genus: Cajanus
  • Species: C. Cajan
  • Scientific name: Cajanus Cajan 

Benefits of Pigeon Pea 

1. Maintains blood pressure 

Potassium is the main mineral found in pigeon pea / Arhar Dal which acts as a vasodilator, reduces blood clots and lowers blood pressure. Those suffering from high blood pressure should add pigeon pea to their daily diet as they are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

2. Assist in the growth 

Pigeon peas are rich in protein which is essential for development. [1] It is essential for the formation of cells, tissues, muscles, and bones. It helps in the healing process and cell regeneration in the body. One cup of cooked pigeon peas contains 11 g of protein. 

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3. Prevent anemia 

Pigeon pea is rich in folate which helps prevent congenital anemia and neurological defects caused by folate deficiency. One cup of pigeon pea provides about 110% of the daily recommended vitamin intake. 

4. Anti-inflammatory properties 

Pigeon peas are used to treat inflammation due to the presence of organic compounds. The paste of pigeon peas is used as a treatment for piles.

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5. Helps lose weight 

Pigeon peas is low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fats which makes them healthy. The presence of dietary fiber keeps you full for longer, increases metabolism, and reduces the risk of weight gain. The nutrients found in pigeon peas are converted into usable energy rather than stored as fat. 

6. Boost energy 

Pigeon pea contains vitamin B. Riboflavin and Niacin increase carbohydrate metabolism, prevent fat storage and increase energy levels. It is suitable for people living in dry climates, and physical work that rapidly reduces energy. 

7. Immunity system 

To retain the nutrients, raw pigeon pea is good as 25% of the nutrients are lost during cooking. Cooked pigeon pea helps to improve the immune system. Vitamin C helps in the production of white blood cells and acts as an antioxidant that promotes overall wellness as well as a strong immune system. 

8. Healthy heart 

Pigeon peas contains dietary fiber, potassium, and low cholesterol which helps in maintaining a healthy heart. Potassium reduces blood pressure and also reduces pressure on the heart. Dietary fiber maintains cholesterol balance and prevents atherosclerosis. 

9. Digestive Health 

Pigeon peas rice contains dietary fiber which is essential for maintaining digestive health. Fiber adds greatly to bowel movements and increases intestinal motility by reducing stress. It reduces constipation, cramping, swelling and diarrhea. Fiber improves nutrient absorption efficiency. Pigeon pea acts as an effective digestive stimulant. 

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10. Healthy for diabetics 

Pigeon peas is an essential part of the diet of diabetics as it has a glycemic index of being a good source of complex carbs and dietary fiber, pigeon pea boosts metabolism and provides your body with a steady supply of energy. Low GI foods keep you satiated, heat up digestion and reduce blood sugar spikes. 

11. Bone health

Being an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, pigeon pea strengthens the bones of growing children. It restores optimal bone density in elderly people, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis. 

Uses of Pigeon Pea 

Pigeon pea is used as a lentil in India. In other parts of Asia, these lentils are used to make tempeh or tofu. Immature seeds and pods are eaten fresh or added to soups as vegetables. The seeds are used as legumes, while the dried leaves are used as vegetables. Pigeon pea can also be used for cooking, steaming and frying. They can also be added to cooked soups, stews, curries, sauce, salads and rice preparations. 

Side effects of Pigeon Pea 

Pigeon pea is safe for everyone to eat and does not cause any adverse side effects. However, people with any allergic reaction to beans and legumes should avoid them. 

Therefore, pigeon peas should be used in the right amount considering their advantages and disadvantages as excessive use of any ingredient can harm our health. The above information is provided for general information purposes only. It is recommended to consult a doctor before using pigeon peas in treatment. 


The information discussed in this article has introduced you to the health benefits of pigeon peas. In this article, you will learn about the benefits, harms, uses, and information of pigeon peas. I hope the information mentioned in this article will be useful to you. Thank you! 


1. What are the common names of pigeon peas? 

Ans: The common names of pigeon peas are– Arhar Dal, Angola Pea, Congo-Pea, Pigeon-Pea, No Eye Pea, Red Gram, Yellow Dhal, and Puerto Rico Pea.

2. Are there side effects of using pigeon peas? 

Ans: However, people with any allergic reaction to beans and legumes should avoid the use of pigeon peas as their use can cause side effects for such people. 

3. Are pigeon peas good for bones? 

Ans: Yes, pigeon pea contains calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, which strengthen the bones. 

4. Pigeon pea plant belongs to which family? 

Ans: The pigeon pea plant belongs to the Fabales family. 

5. What is the scientific name of pigeon peas? 

Ans: The scientific name of the pigeon pea is Cajanus Cajan. 

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