The Ancient Medicinal Food
Long ago in the rural landscapes of Asia, a wild plant called Phaseolus sublobatus grew in the moist lowlands. The native populace of India began to notice the hearty flavor and the valuable health benefits of this legume; they decided to cultivate it as a domestic crop in their fields, and soon it was a staple in their diets. The plant is mentioned as far back as 300 B.C. in famous Indian literature, and has a long-established legacy of having healing properties.
What resulted from the process of domesticated cultivation is now known as Black Gram (Vigna mungo L.); other common names are urad dal, urd, Black Matpe Bean, Minapa Pappu, and Mungo Bean. Whatever you choose to call it, this little lentil soon found itself travelling out to all the surrounding regions, and even into the majority of Africa.
Although Black Gram has long been established as a superfood in Eastern culture, it has remained largely obscure in the United States; now it’s our mission to get the word out as to why it’s an amazing benefit to anyone’s diet!
Black Gram is a powerhouse of nutrition and disease-preventative elements; it contains higher amounts of fiber, iron, protein, and other essential vitamins and minerals than almost any other legume in the world! While others may sing the praises of soybeans, or fall into the chickpea snack fad, we say, step aside, soy beans and garbanzo beans… and any other bean; Black Gram has you beat!
Similar to Hippocrates’ mindset that food should be our medicine and medicine our food, Indian ayurvedic medicinal practices used (and still uses) Black Gram as a healing food because its effects reach every area of the body by strengthening the core aspects of life, such as digestion and the heart. Let’s go over a few of the many ways that Black Gram can play an important role in health and wellness.
Because of the high content of fiber in Black Gram, it is a great choice for dieters! The feeling of fullness is achieved while excess sugars are prevented from being absorbed in the digestive process, and energy and metabolism are accelerated to help in your workout and exercise routine. The protein content also helps you feel full longer so the impulse to snack is lessened.
If weight gain is being caused by hormonal imbalances, Black Gram can help with that too! Each serving contains 67% of the recommended amount of magnesium, an essential mineral in the process of balancing hormones.
Black Gram is good for the heart in so many ways; it can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, prevent heart disease, and more! The high amounts of potassium, magnesium, and fiber all work together to eliminate potential stresses on the cardio system.
Studies have shown that Black Gram lentils contain a significant amount of antioxidants; this is great news for those diagnosed with diabetes! Antioxidants do an important job of protecting the pancreas from free radicals, and thus allowing the pancreas to do its job of generating the proper amount of insulin. Black Gram also has the effect of lowering glucose levels that interfere with insulin function.
Black Gram can help out both men and women in the realms of reproduction. Folate is one nutrient in particular that is found in Black Gram which is very important during pregnancy for the prevention of neural tube defects in the developing baby. Iron is an important mineral in the lives of women, as the menstrual cycle causes blood loss; Black Gram supplies 95% RDV in a single serving! The practice of ancient ayurvedic medicine also claims that the lentil has an aphrodisiac effect, increases sperm count, and combats impotence.
Are you needing a daily boost of energy? Black Gram may be just what you’re looking for! Having more protein per serving than any other legume, Black Gram provides 25.21 g of high-quality protein that supplies the body’s muscles with long-lasting energy. These lentils also have a significant amount of carbohydrates as well; not the empty carbs found in highly processed breads, but whole carbs that enrich our systems with reliable and extended energy.
Some may find it strange to think that a humble bean could be good for your skin; well, get ready to be pleasantly surprised! We’ve already discussed how Black Gram can supply us with a good dose of antioxidants; these militaristic little agents also fight the free radicals that cause damage and aging effects on our skin.
Research has noted positive results from applying antioxidants to the following skin ailments:
- Non-melanoma skin cancer
In addition to the antioxidants in Black Gram, studies have revealed antibacterial qualities in the bean’s seed coat; this makes it a valuable aid in the treatment and prevention of acne and other bacterial skin problems.
Consuming Black Gram as food can certainly deliver benefits to your complexion, but if you want a more direct application, try making your own personalized skin cream!
Black Gram is even great for the ground it grows in; like all legumes, it helps fertilize the soil by working together with natural bacterium around the root system to fix nitrogen in the dirt. It also makes as excellent cover crop to protect the ground from erosion, and the unused foliage can be turned into green manure and tilled back into the soil once the pods are harvested.
As you can see, if there was an award for “the most beneficial legume in the world”, Black Gram would probably win the contest! Are you ready to introduce yourself and your family to this wonder bean? Get ready to experience true health, and some delicious meals! Try out a few of our recipes, or you can even use Black Gram in place of regular lentils in your own current favorites.
If you have any other questions about Black Gram and its uses and health benefits, feel free to contact us; we love sharing about this amazing lentil, and we know you’ll love it too!