According to the Vegetarian Times, over 7 million Americans follow a vegetarian diet, while another 22.8 million are “vegetarian-inclined”. This means that there are a lot of people out there who are trying to embrace a healthier lifestyle and are making an effort to find better alternatives to the excessive meat-eating diet of the culture.
Black Gram (Vigna mungo L.) is a perfect choice for those choosing a vegetarian diet due to its amazing nutritional content, especially in regards to the iron, zinc and protein it provides.
Just because an individual eliminates meat from their menu doesn’t automatically make their diet healthy; in fact, it is more important than ever to make sure your body is getting what it needs. That’s where Black Gram can make a big difference, supplying more health benefits per gram than almost any other legume.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get a sufficient amount of protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Although dietary protein often comes through meat, eggs, and dairy products, the legume family (Fabaceae) is also an excellent source of high-quality protein that has the bonus feature of containing no cholesterol.
While the protein found in legumes is not quite a complete protein (meaning that it does not contain adequate amounts of all nine of the essential amino acids), when paired with a whole grain such as rice or quinoa, the essential amino acids are completed. In fact, whole grains are the perfect combo because they are high in the amino acid methionine, which is exactly what legumes don’t supply.
Our favorite lentil Black Gram has one of the highest protein contents of any other plant-based food in the world! One serving provides 45% of the recommended daily intake; that’s more than chickpeas, black beans, or any other lentil variety!
Plant-based zinc can sometimes be harder for our bodies to absorb than zinc found in animal products; but again, it is fully possible, and can be done with a simple understanding of how different nutrients and minerals react to each other.
Calcium is a known inhibitor to the absorption of zinc; so within the same meal setting, try to avoid foods high in calcium when you’re trying to reach your goal of zinc intake. Fortunately, Black Gram is valuable supplier of zinc, while being fairly low in calcium, making it a great choice for reaching the recommended daily intake.
Phytate is an element present in legumes and other plants that blocks the absorption of zinc. Studies have shown, however, that most of legume’s phytate is located in the skins, and soaking beans and lentils such as Black Gram overnight before cooking can lower the phytate levels significantly, and increase the body’s ability to digest the zinc. Coincidentally, protein helps the body absorb zinc, and as we just saw, Black Gram is a protein powerhouse!
Our bodies need iron in order to keep a good supply of oxygen flowing through our blood, as well as other important functions in the body. But just like zinc, plant-based iron absorption can be hindered by certain nutrients like calcium.
Foods rich in vitamin C have been shown to increase the body’s ability to absorb iron, and are a great choice to pair up with Black Gram. And you may be wondering why is Black Gram the top choice for dietary iron? Because a single serving has 95% RDV!
Getting the Most Out of Your Veggies
Isn’t it fun getting to know how different nutrients work together? Everything in life is a learning experience, and our diets are no different. We hope that you enjoy adding Black Gram to your menu, and that you have even more enjoyment experiencing the benefits that it can bring to your life. Feel free to contact us for any additional information about this amazing lentil; after all, it’s our favorite thing to talk about!