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Indian cuisine is renowned for its myriad of pulses, which are both delectable and possess ample amounts of nutrients. Black gram or urad dal is one such delicacy adorning Indian kitchens and the health benefits of which have been succinctly proven. Of course, it is loaded with proteins, vitamins and minerals, which are responsible for these actions. But how exactly they work and what these health benefits are? You will know in the article. But before that, let’s just have a look at some basics about this grain.

Some basic facts about black gram

  • Scientific name: Vigna mugno
  • Family: Fabaceae or pea family
  • Common names: Urad daal, black gram, maa ki daal
  • Native region: Black gram is an annual plant native to India and has been used in the Indian subcontinent since the ancient times. It forms a part of the North Indian cuisine and is commonly cooked in the states of Punjab and Haryana. It has different varieties which grow in dry and hot weather conditions, in well-drained and ploughed soil. It requires an ideal temperature of 25 to 35 degrees.
  • Parts used: Grains are the parts which are used and cooked as daal.
  1. Use of urad dal: kali urad dal recipe
  2. Urad dal side effects
  3. Black gram nutrition facts
  4. Urad dal benefits

Black grams can be consumed in a variety of forms, the most delectable being a hot bowl of dal. Simply soak about 100 grams of grains overnight and bring to a boil the next day along with some oil and spices. You can enjoy it with a tadka and rotis or rice and can even make it in a dried form.

Another way of enjoying whole black gram is by making a salad. Simply add semi-boiled grains to your choice of vegetables like cucumbers and lettuce. Form a dressing with the help of some olive oil, spices and salt. Enjoy the dish or store and eat later.

There are no specific side effects of urad dal. However, consuming anything in excess is never recommended. While dietary fibres present in black gram have astounding benefits, they can lead to flatulence and bloating if consumed in excess.

Further, increased consumption of this dal causes an increase in the uric acid levels in the body, which can lead to calcifications. Thus, it is recommended to avoid its consumption if you are suffering from kidney or gallbladder stones or have gotten relieved from them. It is also important that you see a doctor before including this daal in your diet in such cases.

Black gram is considered to be a very rich source of proteins and carbohydrates. It also moderately contain several minerals and vitamins. 100 grams of this daal contains:

Due to its rich nutritional composition, black gram is bound to have some amazing health benefits. These will be explored and explained in this section.

Black gram for weight loss

Poor diet and sedentary lifestyle have pushed many towards weight issues. Excess weight is not just non-flattering but is also a threat to health, increasing the risk of several chronic disorders. Of course, physical activity and exercise have a role in weight reduction, but it has been rightly said that weight loss happens in the kitchen more than in the gym. What healthier than proteins for achieving weight loss?

Black gram is loaded with proteins, which are enough to fulfil almost half of your daily protein requirement within just a bowl. Astonished, right? Yes, black grams possess even more protein than chickpeas, which are a renowned protein-rich source among Indians. Further, it has fewer calories, which only makes it a better weight loss food than chickpeas because calorie restriction is equally important for weight loss.

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, this is particularly a piece of good news for you since vegetarian protein sources are quite limited. Why proteins are important for weight loss is because they help in improving your metabolism, quickening the process of shedding weight.

Further, they assist in keeping you in a good shape as you lose weight, helping maintain your muscle tone and skin elasticity. So, don’t miss out on a chance to enjoy some fitness and good health while devouring a hot bowl of urad daal.

(Read more: Diet chart for weight loss)

Kali urad dal for a better digestion

It is recommended to have light and frequent meals for better digestion. So, snacking on a bowl of black gram or having a black gram salad will definitely be more conducive to your digestive health than eating a bowl of noodles. But, it's not just that.

Black grams contain fibre in some amount, which aids in the process of digestion. So, eating it may help you get rid of digestive issues like constipation.

Moreover, it will help to keep you full for long, preventing you from binging or overeating, which is again harmful to your digestive health.

Black gram is rich in antioxidants

Black gram contains vitamin C in ample amounts, which is a strong antioxidant imparting all of its benefits to the grain. While the presence of vitamin C surely does add up, studies on this grain have proved its independent antioxidant potential.

When compared with different varieties of beans, grains and pulses, black grams were shown to have better antioxidant potential. This can be attributed to the presence of phenolic compounds in it. Black gram possesses gallic acid, which is a strong antioxidant and is responsible for almost all of these actions. When cooked and eaten along with the seed coat, these antioxidant actions are further enhanced due to the presence of flavonoids. 

Conclusively, it can be said that black gram is the best of the lot as an antioxidant. How this benefits your health, you’ll know ahead.

Black grams for diabetes prevention

Diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by an increase in blood glucose levels, which potentiates the risk of several conditions and disorders, particularly those of the cardiovascular system. Since diabetes is not reversible, it is ideal to prevent the condition before it occurs. Antidiabetic actions of pulses have been known to traditional medicine system since ever.

Concerning black gram, animal-based studies have found that it catered to a reduction in blood glucose levels over a 4-week period, when consumed in the whole form. This was confirmed with the help of an oral glucose tolerance test, which showed a better glucose tolerance by the body.

Due to its antidiabetic effects, black gram is often recommended to be included in the diet for the prevention and management of diabetes, particularly type 2. It is even recommended in the diet of women suffering from gestational diabetes.

Black gram for cholesterol control

Cholesterol is an essential component of body cells and it is required for the synthesis of several types of hormones. Though excessive cholesterol levels are detrimental to cardiac health, the bright side is that high cholesterol levels are easily reversible by dietary modifications. Black grams, which are high in fibres and low in fat can prove to be an excellent dietary inclusion for this concern.

Studies on animal models have proved the hyperlipidemic (cholesterol-lowering) effects of black gram. The ingestion of black gram significantly helped to reduce lipids, triglycerides and esterified cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol levels were also improved.

An additional action, which was observed was the anti-atherogenic effect of black gram, which implies that it facilitated a reduction in the risk of atherosclerosis by preventing plaque formation.

Black gram for the heart

Cardiac disorders refer to a group of disorders affecting the heart, which are often serious and even life-threatening. By aiding in control of blood glucose and cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of plaque formation, it can be ascertained that black gram has cardioprotective effects.

It can, therefore, be a useful addition to the diet of those suffering from cardiac disorders or those who have undergone a surgery.

Another mechanism by which black gram is conducive to heart health can be explained on the basis of its antioxidant actions. Black gram helps to inhibit the actions of free radicals, which would otherwise react aggressively with cardiac tissues and incur tissue damage and lead to heart attack. So, it can be determined that the inclusion of black gram in your diet can be protective against atherosclerosis and heart attack.

(Read more: Heart disease treatment)

Black gram for the skin

It has been established that black gram is loaded with antioxidants, which are responsible for controlling the actions of free radicals. Other than internal organs, free radicals also react with your skin and commonly cause wrinkles, fine lines and manifestation of other signs of ageing. Additionally, it is also responsible for hair fall and greying of hair. With the inclusion of black gram in your diet, you can get rid of these aesthetic concerns and retain your youthful glow and look.

Due to its benefits on the skin, black gram is also used as an ingredient in facial creams and masks. Further, its exfoliating actions help to remove the dead layer of skin and replace it with newer cells. This helps in the rejuvenation of the skin and enhances your youthful glow.

To benefit from this action, you can easily form a black gram face mask by mixing grounded gram with some milk and honey.

However, dietary inclusion is also likely to help. So, make sure you got enough.

Black grams may help to prevent cancers

Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases of the modern day world with high rates of recurrence and a high potential for spread. While most cancers have no specific cause, certain dietary constituents have a protective role against the cancerous activity, antioxidants being the most important. They help to reduce oxidative stress by fighting against the damage caused due to free radicals in the body. Free radicals produced as a result of several bodily mechanisms, are not exactly avoidable, but controlling them has been found to be effective against the growth of cancer.

One particular type of cancer, which has been well studied with these grains is breast cancer. It has been determined that black gram is preventive against it. Studies have also found that phenolic compounds present in black gram and its flavonoids have a possible role in preventing carcinogenesis.

Thus, a diet rich in pulses may be helpful in prevention or may even be supportive to the treatment. Other than their protective actions, black grams are also found to have health-promoting and chemo-preventative effects, which means that they may help in improving your quality of life and minimising the side effects of chemotherapy if you have been diagnosed with cancer.

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References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Classification for Kingdom Plantae Down to Species Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper. National resource conservation service; Agricultural Research Service
  2. United States Department of Agriculture. Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper All black gram. National resource conservation service; Agricultural Research Service
  3. Department of agriculture. Black gram. Sri-lanka
  4. Healthy Focus. 7 Amazing Health Benefits of Black Gram. Northfield, USA
  5. Singh B, Singh JP, Shevkani K, Singh N, Kaur A.Bioactive constituents in pulses and their health benefits. 2017 Mar;54(4):858-870. PMID: 28303037
  6. Srivastava A, Joshi LD.Effect of feeding black gram (Phaseolus mungo) on serum lipids of normal & diabetic guineapigs. 1990 Oct;92:383-6. PMID: 2272678
  7. Ginpreet Kaur, Rachana Somaiya and Sameer Patel. Preventive and Curative Potential of Vigna mungo against Metabolic Syndrome in Acute and Chronic Rat Models. DOI: 10.3923/jbs.2015.85.91
  8. Maternal health division. Diagnosis & Management of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. ministry of health and family welfare; government of India
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