Pregnancy’s Best Friend
As soon as a woman finds out the exciting news that she is expecting, she is often struck with the awe and wonder of a new and great responsibility; now her lifestyle and diet is affecting not only her, but it also affects the precious and vulnerable child in her womb. Suddenly vitamins, minerals, and optimal nutrition zoom to the forefront of her priorities as she strives to take good care of herself for the next nine months and beyond.
Did you know that Black Gram can become one of your best friends during the journey of a healthy pregnancy? It’s almost hard to believe how many benefits come with this ancient and humble legume from India! Many claims have gone out over the years about the discovery of a new superfood, but when we lay out the facts of Black Gram’s nutrient density, it’s obvious that few other foods can even come close!
As you might expect, a woman’s body needs a significant supply of protein as she provides the building materials for her growing baby in the womb. Proteins are the main components of bone, muscle, organs, …you name it! A diet rich in high-quality protein also helps to fortify the mother’s body as changes occur in the breasts and uterus.
Experts recommend a minimum of 70 grams of protein a day for pregnant women, and even as many as 100 grams. For women who practice vegetarian or vegan diets, it can sometimes be difficult to find foods with a high content of complete protein. Black Gram is an excellent source of complete protein when combined with a whole grain such as brown rice. A 100 gram serving of Black Gram contains over 25 grams of protein; that’s over a 3rd of the RDV! Whether you are a vegetarian or not, Black Gram is a great option for reaching the needed amount of protein.
In the late 1990s, it became a widespread concern to incorporate more folate into the average American’s diet, especially the diets of childbearing-aged women. This concern grew out of the discovery that folate deficiencies were causing birth defects such as spinal bifida, tongue and lip tie, and neural tube deformities. A mandate emerged encouraging businesses to systematically add folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) into cereal products and flour.
Although the increased consumption of folic acid has worked for many to reduce the risks of birth defects, it unfortunately doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, for 20-40% of women, the synthetic supplement cannot be utilized by their bodies; furthermore, it seems to block the absorption of any natural folate as well!
Many modern experts strongly encourage pregnant women (and women who are wanting to conceive) to find prenatal vitamins that contain folate rather than folic acid. But in addition to prenatal vitamins, you can also find natural folate in many foods. Most people think of green leafy vegetables such as spinach when folate is mentioned, but did you know that Black Gram has a significant amount of folate too? …even more than spinach!
A serving of Black Gram contains 216 micrograms; again, that’s about a 3rd of the recommended 600-800 micrograms for pregnant women!
A woman’s body can increase the amount of blood in circulation by up to 60% towards the end of the third trimester; that’s a lot of red blood cells that need to be produced! This massive effort of blood production calls for a good supply of iron; that’s why the average person’s RDV of around 8 milligrams is bumped up to 27 milligrams during pregnancy!
Iron plays a major part in the production of hemoglobin, the component of the red blood cell that carries oxygen to the body. This helps relieve fatigue during pregnancy, and ensures that the baby is receiving all the supplies for proper development. An iron deficiency during pregnancy can result in anemia and cause serious complications such as premature birth, or even the loss of the infant.
Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to fit a healthy amount of iron into your diet; just one serving of Black Gram can supply you with 7.57 milligrams of iron. Again, although spinach often gets the spotlight for iron content, it can’t rival our favorite lentil. (Popeye could have gotten twice as much from eating Black Gram as he did from spinach!)
That’s Not All, Folks!
We’ve only covered 3 main pillars of nutrition so far, but there are so many that we could spend time on; Black Gram scores high on numerous other essentials:
- Fiber (18.3 g) for a healthy digestive system, regulating blood glucose levels.
- Magnesium (267 mg) to help prevent premature contractions, and to help your baby develop strong teeth and bones.
- Phosphorus (379 mg) to help your blood clot properly during the birth, and to aid in healthy tissue repair.
- Potassium (983 mg), an electrolyte that helps maintain a proper chemical balance in your body’s fluids.
All of these nutrients have amazingly joined together into one delicious lentil to give us the world’s greatest food! Some may argue that beef liver contains a greater concentration of nutrients, but liver also has a very high level of Vitamin A, and can cause serious birth defects if eaten often. Black Gram is safe, gentle, and has been used extensively in India for medicinal purposes since ancient times. It continues to prove its power today, even rivaling modern medicine in its effectiveness. Researchers are still discovering new ways that Black Gram can fight dangerous free radicals, diabetes, and heart disease.
Ready to Give Black Gram a Try?
There’s no better time than now to start adding Black Gram to your daily routine. Check out the recipes on our website for some hearty meal options that will nourish your heart, mind and body (and your baby’s too!), and find out even more ways that Black Gram can benefit your life.
Feel free to contact us today for additional information on Black Gram, and how it is helping people all over the world discover a new and healthier lifestyle. We are excited to be a part of this journey, and we love to hear about the experiences of those who have found a trusted friend in this wonderful lentil! Let us know what you’re learning too!