Black gram or urad as it is known in Hindi is one of the most nutritious cereals. It is known to make the body as strong as iron. From the times immemorial people had been using black gram to keep them healthy, vigorous, strong, energetic and they remained so till they attained very old age. Apart from their culinary benefits, there are many other health benefits associated with black gram. It is a cure for many ailments like nervous-disorders, hair-disorders, digestive-disorders, rheumatic pains and diabetes.
Black gram contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. The balanced levels of potassium and sodium in black gram helps reduce high blood pressure. The rich iron content and folic acid is very beneficial especially for women. For those who are recuperating from illness, black gram gives energy and helps in fast recovery. Soak one cup of black gram and little less than one cup of rice in water separately overnight. On washing the lentils in the morning the outer cover comes off easily. Grind both of them and make thick batter and steam cook as you do for dhokla or idli in the morning. This can be had with green-coriander or pudina chutney. Giving this for few days regularly makes the sick person recover faster than you expect. In Andhra, this recipe is called ‘Aviri Kudumu’ and there is a separate utensil available for this.
- The fibre content in black gram helps in the digestion, reduces cholesterol and improves cardiovascular health.
- Black gram is one of the few lentils that contain essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are very essential for the function of our brain but our body cannot produce them on its own. Many people are given memory enhancer tablets which contain essential fatty acids. In India, pure vegetarians have high intellectual prowess just because of consuming foods like black gram. It is now scientifically proved that eating fermented foods like idli etc. Are actually good for humans and the bacteria which ferments the batter is good bacteria. In recent years we are seeing the rise in probiotic foods like yogurt with live good bacteria.
- Black gram contains vitamins A, B1, B3 and also contains some amount of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin C in it.
- Black gram helps the kidneys to function properly by providing them energy. Regular consumption of black gram helps flush out the stones formed in bladder and kidneys.
- Eating black gram in any form sprouts, dal etc. gives iron protein to the body and minimises the problem of anaemia.
- Crush few black grams into pieces and put them on hot coal to get some smoke. Inhaling this smoke stops hiccups immediately.
- Black gram removes dandruff. Soak one spoon of fenugreek seeds and one spoon of black gram in water. Add one amla (Indian Gooseberry) and make paste. Apply this paste to your head and after sometime as it starts to dry, take bath. Doing this twice a month strengthens your hair, gives shiny black colour and removes dandruff.
- Black gram paste if applied on white patches gradually removes them from the skin.
- The leaves of this herb are also very beneficial to health. On the 9th day of Durga Puja (Dussara) it is customary to eat the leaves of black gram cooked along with dal or vegetable in Southern parts of India. It tastes little bitter but is considered good for health.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna