The United States of America is the land of free and home to many with high cholesterol. This wasn’t meant to be a health public service announcement but if you were to look at the picture of America’s health fortunes, they are about as dark as everything else in America at the moment. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one third (33.5%) have high low-density lipoprotein, which is a fancy way of saying poor cholesterol levels.
Part of the problem in telling people they have high cholesterol is that it doesn’t strike the appropriate amount of fear to elicit any changes. Yet, high cholesterol significantly increases your chances of heart disease, the leading cause of death in America, as well as your chances of having a stroke, the fifth leading cause of death in America! If I were to tell you your daily routine significantly increases your chances of dying by two of the top five leading causes of death, that should jolt you out of your seat.
However, because it’s diet related, most people wave it off and continue about their daily routine. Thankfully, there is a very simple way to drastically lower your cholesterol levels and it doesn’t require any of the boring, “stop drinking soda, avoid fast foods and exercise regularly” litanies. Sure, those are still highly recommended but looking at the statistics, not many people are taking that advice. In actuality, our advice for lowering your cholesterol only requires one thing, eating! Do we have your attention now?
Instead of drastically altering your lifestyle, simply eating a pulse (a lentil) that is a staple in Asia could set your cholesterol levels plummeting, all on its own. The lentil is called black gram and is used in popular Asian dishes such as Vada, Idli, Dosa, and Papad.
What is it?
Black Gram (Vigna mungo) is categorized as a hypolipidemic pulse. You may have heard the word “hypolipidemic” used in relation to pharmaceutical drugs. Basically hypolipidemic agents are used to lower your lipid or fat levels. Cholesterol is essentially a type of fat that, if you have too much of it, blocks your arteries and leads to all types of health problems like heart disease and strokes, as we discussed.
What are the Benefits?
However, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on pharmaceutical drugs to lower your cholesterol when black gram does it naturally. Don’t take my word for it, there’s plenty of research to support such claims. In their findings researchers found that “A polysaccharide and a protein fraction contribute to the hypolipidemic action. Glycosaminoglycan metabolism is altered by inclusion of the these fractions in the diet. Neutral detergent fiber isolated from black gram possesses significant hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, and anticolon-cancer activity.” If that came across sounding like the teacher in Peanuts, “wah wah wah wah, minus about 100 eight-syllable words, read the English version below.
How Does it Work?
Essentially, black gram contains an insoluble polysaccharide fraction – ok, one incomprehensible word – that absorbs cholesterol in your liver and aorta. Another study confirmed such findings in rats. Black gram is also chock full of other incredibly healthy elements like the globulin fraction, dietary fibers, phosphorus and a host of vitamins and beneficial minerals. Together, vitamins, mineral and fractions have been proven to lower both your fat and sugar levels, along with minimizing the chances for colon cancer, the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women according to the American Cancer Society.
To recap, black gram reduces your cholesterol, which minimizes your chances of heart diseases that can lead to a dozen other health problems, as well as lowers your sugar levels, decreasing your chances of becoming diabetic. Lastly, this little lentil also protects you from colon cancer. Basically it helps reduces your chances for 3 of the top 10 causes of death, not bad for a tasty lentil, right?
The bottom line: black gram is the healthiest bean since Jack’s magic bean turned his family from poor paupers to wealthy farmers or whatever. Incredibly black gram can do more than just save your life. It’s also great for your skin, your hair, your sex life (if you’re a man) weight loss and more!