Anyone who is familiar with our website knows that black gram is an amazing superfood that can bring a whole new level of health to your life. We’ve covered topics such as cardio health, sleep disorders, weight loss, etc., but there may be some additional information that will surprise you regarding this Indian lentil.
Let’s branch off of our usual focus on health and take a look at 5 other little-known facts about black gram; as a result, we’ll discover 5 more reasons to appreciate it all the more! So put on your adventure shoes, and let’s take a journey through some history, geology, and current trends!
1. Black Gram is Great for the Soil!
This very special lentil is good for more than our diet, it’s also good for the earth. Unlike a crop such as corn which depletes the nutrients of the soil, black gram actually improves the quality of the ground by channeling nitrogen from the air down through its roots.
Nitrogen deficiency is a major problem around the globe where crops are being grown; deficiencies can cause an inability for crops to utilize the sunshine for energy and growth. Soil that is continually drained of nutrients sets the stage for famine-like conditions, and crop failure can be detrimental to small farms and homesteads.
In addition to the nitrogen that legumes put into the ground, they also have deep roots that promote healthy airflow through the surrounding soil; this encourages the earthworm population, and thus the balance of beneficial microbes and organic matter is upheld.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if more farmers began healing the earth by growing legumes like black gram? Not only would our bodies benefit, but the ground would receive essential elements that nurture further growth and life.
2. Animals Love It Too!
Did you know that the foliage, husks, and seeds of black gram make very valuable food for livestock? In fact, studies have shown that adding black gram to the diet of dairy cows will increase milk production. Additional research reveals that supplementing the diets of cattle with the crop residue of black gram can increase feed intake, boost nutrient digestibility, and stimulate healthy weight gain.
Because the cost would be too high to feed livestock large amounts of the bean itself, most husbandmen feed their indigenous animals the remnants of the black gram harvest, such as the pod shells, husks, and leaves. The plants are commonly dried and used for hay similar to alfalfa.
It has been stated that black gram is an ancient medicinal food, but how far back does it really go?
According to the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA), there is evidence that black gram was already being cultivated and utilized as early as 3,000 B.C. in the Indus Valley, making it one of the oldest foods in the world!
What a rich heritage this lentil has, as it has been sustaining humanity for over 5,000 years! And it still is a signature ingredient that dominates the classic Indian meal table. From medhu vada to sweet sundal, these traditional dishes and recipes have helped to make India famous for savory and hearty food that will increase vitality and longevity.
Black gram has survived through the millennia to tell the gripping tales of struggle, civilization, and legendary heroes (of which, it might as well be called one itself!)
4. A Bean of Many Names
While we usually call it black gram, you may be surprised to know that it can also be called by over 15 different names! From the scientific and botanical names, to the titles given by various languages and dialects, this lentil is not lacking in nomenclature!
So, how do you know what to look for when you’re at the local market? If you happen across a little bean called a black lentil, maasha, urad, uluntu, udid, mashakalai, masamu, uddulu, Vigna mungo, or Phaseolus mungo (that isn’t even all of them, folks!), then you have found black gram under one of its many other names!
And, if you can’t seem to keep the names straight, don’t be afraid to ask the manager of your local market to help you find what you’re looking for!
Of all the little known facts about black gram, this one is the most baffling; that fact that black gram is very little known! …at least in the Western world. Sadly, if you ask the average American if they’ve heard of it, you’ll most likely see them shake their heads.
It’s a completely different story in Asia, however; black gram is immensely popular and well known in India and the surrounding regions. As we already learned, it has been a staple food source in that area since the beginning of human civilization.
Black gram is just beginning to make an impact here in the United States as more scientific research reveals the many health benefits it provides. We hope to see it make a surge in popularity as more and more people experience what it can do! You can help too by sharing some of the amazing information about black gram with your friends and family.
Now You Know
These were just a few more interesting bits of information regarding a very interesting food, and there’s still so much to learn! We are excited to grow in knowledge concerning the benefits of black gram as time goes on and research continues to uncover what it can do for humanity.
After learning some of these surprising fun facts about black gram, maybe you’re more curious than ever about this astounding bean. You can browse through a few of our other articles to see the many ways that black gram can elevate your quality of life and set you on the track to better health. And don’t forget to try out some of our delicious recipes too!
Feel free to contact us with any comments or questions; we love to share information about black gram and we also love hearing from you!