Black gram is a type of bean grown in the Indian subcontinent, which has a surprising number of health benefits, including its ability to boost energy, protect cardiovascular health, reduce pain and inflammation, improve immunity, aid in maintaining skin health, prevent diabetes, build strong bones, strengthen the nervous system, and optimize digestion.
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You may know black gram by a number of other names, including mungo beans, black lentils, or matpe beans, but they are all describing the same impressive type of bean, scientifically known as Wigna mungo. Having been cultivated on the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years, it has become one of the most important pulse varieties in that region of the world. It is valued not only due to its hearty ability to grow in challenging conditions, and its widespread availability, but also for its dense mixture of nutrients. Black gram is sold as a complete un-split bean in some regions, or the cracked open variety, showing the white flesh within, making these very recognizable items in the market.
Black gram is used most famously to make dal, but it also plays a large role in many other cultural dishes in India and South Asia. From soups and stews to curries, bread and side dishes, black gram is an indispensable part of exotic cuisines. However, the black gram is also rich in nutrients, such as protein, essential minerals, various vitamins, fiber, and antioxidant compounds that can help boost your health in a number of ways. While these aren’t the most commonly found beans in some areas, you can usually find them around the globe, and you should definitely make them one of your top bean choices! Let’s take a bit of a closer look at the many health benefits of black gram.
Health Benefits of Black Gram
There are many health benefits of black gram including its ability to aid in digestion, boost energy, improve the skin health, and many others.
Like many other types of beans, black gram is very high in fiber, which can help to remedy any gastrointestinal issues you might be suffering from. Dietary fiber is able to help bulk up the stool and stimulate peristaltic motion. This can help to reduce symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and cramping, as well as other more serious health concerns in your gut. The fiber found in black gram can also help optimize nutrient absorption, ensuring that you get the most out of your meals.
The significant levels of iron found in black gram make it an ideal way to boost energy and increase vitality. Iron is a key element in the production of red blood cells, which can increase oxygenated blood flow to the organs and extremities, thereby increasing energy. Iron also prevents anemia, which is characterized by fatigue, weakness, and cognitive weakness.
Improves Bone Mineral Density
There is a wide range of minerals found in black gram, including calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron and magnesium, all of which play their part in maintaining bone mineral density. As we age, our bones begin to break down and our joints get weak, opening the door for arthritis and osteoporosis. However, maintaining a diet that is high in key minerals can help keep you strong and resilient against age-related disorders.
Fiber is a commonly recommended food for people who are struggling with diabetes or are at high risk of developing the disorder. Fiber is very effective for regulating the uptake of nutrients in the gut, and can, therefore, balance the levels of insulin and glucose in the blood. By preventing those dangerous spikes and drops in blood sugar, diabetics can live a more normal life.
Ayurvedic remedies used decoctions and pastes made of the black gram for almost every skin condition you can imagine. The concentrated mineral and vitamin content made it perfect for relieving inflammation, getting rid of beauty marks, promoting rapid healing and exfoliation, and stimulating the flow of oxygenated blood to the surface of the skin. It can also help soothe the pain of sunburns, reduce the intensity of a tan, and lessen the symptoms of acne.
Reduces Pain & Inflammation
For pain relief and inflammation throughout the body, black gram is one of the oldest and most trusted Ayurvedic remedies. The combination of minerals and vitamins, in addition to boosting the metabolism and cutting down oxidative stress, can soothe irritated areas in the body. A decoction made with black gram, or the extract itself, can be topically applied to aching joints of painful areas for fast relief.
Protects Heart Health
The combination of fiber, potassium, and magnesium found in black gram can do wonders for your heart health. The fiber is an effective way to balance cholesterol levels and prevent atherosclerosis, while the potassium can reduce tension in blood vessels and arteries, effectively lowering blood pressure. Finally, magnesium helps to stimulate circulation, along with iron, ensuring that your entire circulatory and cardiovascular systems are working together for the same goals.
Word of Caution: One of the common complaints about black gram is that it can significantly boost the uric acid levels in your body. For people who suffer from kidney stones, gallstones or gout, adding more uric acid to your body might only exacerbate the calcification. As always, before you add any new “health food” to your daily or weekly regimen, speak to a medical professional or a nutritionist who can tell you what’s best.