From the rich heritage of South Asian cuisine comes an incredible legume known as black gram. This warm-season lentil crop has maintained a place of honor in traditional Indian medicinal practice for thousands of years, and modern science is now discovering why. Let’s take a closer look at black gram and discover why this superfood is gaining popularity across the globe.
Black Gram Basics
Every year, over 3.2 million tons of black gram are sold in the global market, and the number is growing! Also known as urad, masha, Vigna mungo, and a variety of other names, black gram is a plant highly valued in its entirety — from its roots to its seed pods. These small cylindrical beans are white on the inside, with a black seed coat (that happens to be rich in antioxidants). The fuzzy seed pods contain between 4-10 lentils each, and grow on a bush that ranges in size from 1-3 ft. tall.
India is the foremost cultivator of this amazing legume, producing around 70% of the world’s black gram! This is for good reason: Ayurvedic practitioners have taken advantage of the health benefits of black gram to help in the prevention and alleviation of an incredible number of ailments. But as we explore the nutritional content found in black gram, it all begins to make sense.
The Highlights of Black Gram Nutritional Content
- Protein – 25.21 g (45% RDV*)
- Dietary Fiber – 18.3 g (48% RDV)
- Folates – 216 μg (54% RDV)
- Thiamin – .273 mg (23% RDV)
- Iron – 7.57 mg (95% RDV)
- Magnesium – 267 mg (67% RDV)
- Phosphorus – 379 mg (54% RDV)
- Zinc – 3.35 mg (30% RDV)
- Calcium – 138 mg (14% RDV)
In addition, black gram also contains valuable antioxidants such as flavonoids, glycosides, alkaloids, and phenolics, which play an important part in protecting the cells of our bodies from many forms of damage.
All of these attributes work together to help us function better in life, and every system and organ in our bodies are affected positively by this superfood, as we shall discover in the next paragraphs!
For those who are struggling with low energy throughout the day, black gram may be just what you need to get some pep back in your step! A common cause of fatigue and exhaustion is iron deficiency, also known as anaemia. Due to black gram’s high content of iron, it may aid in the production of red blood cells that carry life-giving oxygen to every area of your body, helping your muscles and brain to function better and more efficiently.
Another key element of having energy during your waking hours is getting enough quality sleep. While there are many reasons why sleep evades people, black gram can help with many of them, including:
Magnesium is a mineral that helps our muscles relax when they need to, and a serving of black gram has 67% of the recommended daily intake; that means better rest at the end of a busy day! Improving your diet and lifestyle with black gram may eventually relieve your dependence on certain medications that interfere with your sleep, and as we will see in the next section, it can also help you overcome chronic mood disorders like depression.
Mind and Mood
Anxiety and Depression affect over 40 million people in the United States every year. These scary statistics are exacerbated by the common side effects of antidepressant medications! Is there any safe and reliable help for those who go from day to day dealing with these mental disorders? Yes!
Black gram may help our mood by exploiting the link between diet/digestion and our moods. That’s right, our mental health is very much dependent on a digestive system that is functioning properly. Black gram can help you ensure that your diet contains the recommended daily amounts of dietary fiber, which goes a long way to ensuring smooth digestive processes.
Our overall health, weight, and lifestyle also has a significant impact on our mood, as low self-image can lead to depression, and health scares can cause anxiety. Making positive changes in diet and exercise goes a long way to boost your mood on a basic level, and black gram is a nutritious, vegan source of nutrition and protein that is a great staple in a healthy diet!
As we’ve already mentioned, black gram is great for the digestive system due to its high fiber content. This lentil contains both soluble and insoluble fiber that not only keeps things moving through the intestines, but also helps regulate the absorption of sugars, preventing energy spikes that end in a crash of fatigue.
A slightly less famous role fiber has is making sure that bile (a digestive aid from the liver) is transported through and out of the intestines rather than remaining in the system where it can become a toxic element in the body. When bile recirculates rather than passing through, it can result in intestinal irritation and even skin disorders.
Generally speaking, everything in the digestive system works better and stays healthier when we eat foods high in fiber, and black gram is a terrific source of fiber, with 48% RDV per serving!
Never underestimate the importance of keeping your heart healthy so that it functions well; after all, you can’t live without it! A diet rich in fiber and low in cholesterol is a great way to keep that heart ticking as it should; fortunately, black gram thoroughly qualifies for both requirements with over 18 g of fiber and 0 mg of cholesterol!
Another nutrient found in black gram that has been shown to protect the heart and arteries is folate. In a study involving over 20,000 participants, those who received folate supplements were less prone to strokes and cardiovascular diseases.
Bone Density and Muscle Strength
Our bones and muscles allow us to stand up, throw a football, chew food, and even blink our eyes. Together, our bones and muscles create a fascinating team that helps us to go places and achieve great things. As time goes by, however, our bodies begin to lose bone density and muscle strength. Being intentional about what we feed ourselves now can help prevent problems in the future.
This mobile frame of ours is comprised of many components that are maintained by various nutrients and minerals. Some of the most important elements that help build and sustain our bones and muscles are:
- Protein – the building blocks of the body
- Calcium – for bone maintenance and good muscle function
- Phosphorus – teams up with calcium to build bones, and helps muscles contract
- Flavonoids – prevents bone loss, and studies show a possibility of reducing muscular atrophy
- Iron – helps produce collagen in bones, and optimizes function of skeletal muscles
Making black gram a regular part of your diet is a great way to supplement your body’s intake of all these essential elements. Good diet and adequate exercise can go far to prevent bone and muscle loss as we move into the later years of life.
In the year 2020, statistics showed that 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. Even more shocking was the 88 million people in the United States that are diagnosed with prediabetes; that’s nearly 1 in 3 American adults!
The good news is that this potentially dangerous condition (especially type 2) can often be managed and safely controlled by proper diet and lifestyle. Black gram is a diabetic’s best friend, as it can help to:
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Protect the insulin-producing pancreas
- Eliminate free fatty acids (one of the main causes of insulin resistance)
Specifically, black gram’s high content of dietary fiber and the rich antioxidants found in its skin can be a useful tool when attempting to manage diabetes via lifestyle.
The sacred function of human reproduction can also benefit from black gram, as it nourishes our bodies and prepares the way for generational health as well!
For the Men
A man’s reproductive health is just as important in realms of fertility as the woman’s, and can have either positive or negative effects on sperm count, conception, embryo development, pregnancy outcome, and the lifelong genetics of the child/children.
Folate is important for cell division and DNA synthesis. Studies have shown a connection with low folate in men’s diets and depleted sperm counts and poor DNA stability, whereas supplementing with a combination of folate and zinc (which also boosts testosterone) for 26 weeks resulted in more stability and a 74% increase in sperm count! Black Gram is a great source of natural folate and zinc; one serving of this legume provides over half of the RDV of folate, and 30% of your zinc.
The antioxidants found in black gram can also help support male fertility by protecting sperm, as well as guarding against prostate cancer by fighting off free radicals in the body.
Ayurvedic medicine also claims that adding black gram to men’s diets can help reverse the problem of erectile dysfunction, and bring greater levels of sexual stamina and sperm motility.
For the Women
Black gram can help support the reproductive health of women too! The high levels of protein, iron, folate, and other essential nutrients provide wonderfully appropriate nourishment for a mother-to-be. From balancing hormones to helping the fetus develop properly, black gram is a great addition to the menus of women in their child-bearing years.
Folate is especially important in the first trimester of pregnancy as the baby’s spine and brain are developing, as deficiencies can lead to birth defects such as spinal bifida, tongue and lip tie, and neural tube deformities.
As pregnancy progresses, a woman’s body needs a significant supply of protein for the growing baby in her womb, as well as for the changes happening in her body, such as lactation. Black gram is a great source of high-quality protein that can be paired with a whole grain to provide you with all nine essential amino acids!
The volume of blood in circulation can increase up to 48% during pregnancy, and this requires a greater amount of iron than is usually needed. Blood transports nutrients to the baby, so it is vital to supply your body with what it needs to create healthy blood. Fortunately, black gram contains 7.57 mg of iron per serving; that’s a lot more than you’ll find in spinach!
Putting it Together
Black gram has been hailed as an effective aphrodisiac since ancient times in the traditional cultures that have used it as a medicinal food, not by simply manipulating the mind as some aphrodisiacs do, but by enhancing the entire reproductive health of both men and women, allowing the proper physical and emotional aspects of sex to function as they were intended to.
Trying to lose a few pounds? Consider black gram as part of your arsenal in these efforts. The high fiber content regulates glucose intake, reducing the potential storage of unused sugars as fat. Fiber, as well as the protein in black gram also helps you feel satisfied longer, reducing the urges to snack often and overeat. Energy is sustained longer, allowing for a better lifestyle of activity and exercise (an important part of healthy weight loss).
The protein found in black gram is free of cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy choice in contrast to red meats and pork; so you can get your energy and feed your muscles without putting your heart and cardiovascular system at risk.
As we already discussed, black gram can help us manage and relieve stress and depression, both of which can indirectly result in weight problems. It’s a little legume friend that supports you all the way in your weight loss endeavors!
We simply do not have the space here to cover all the benefits of black gram, although we’ve tried to cover many of the important topics. We could go on to discuss arthritis, Crohn’s disease, the immune system, and more, but you probably get the picture; black gram is amazing!
Best in Show
To sum it all up, black gram is a treasure chest of full of essential nutrients, and has the capability to help humanity rise to new levels of wellness. It shines far above other foods in its ability to touch nearly every area of health and wellness. If you have any other questions about black gram and how it can become an important part of your lifestyle, contact us today!
Blackgram.com does not offer personal health or medical advice. Neither black gram nor any of the statements herein have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided on Blackgram.com is general in nature and informational only. Nothing on this site is intended as advice and should not be considered a substitute in any way for professional medical advice to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should consult your healthcare provider before starting any nutrition, diet, exercise, fitness, medical, or wellness program.