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Bengal gram, also known as 'black chana' or garbanzo beans is a highly beneficial pulse belonging to the chickpea family. You may know it as chana dal, a staple ingredient in the Indian cuisine. The dark brown legumes are a pocket-friendly storehouse of energy, due to the huge list of nutritional benefits it encompasses. Scientifically termed as Cicer arietinum L., Bengal gram is highly nutritious  , has a rich flavour and aroma, is amazingly delicious and gets easily digested.
One of the earliest legumes to be cultivated, Bengal gram seeds are small in size and has a dark brown-coloured coat. The lentils are yellow in colour and are flat on one side and rounded on the other. Mostly cultivated in India, the legume is also found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran and Mexico.
Bengal gram is high in fibre, zinc, calcium, protein and folate. It is low in fat and helps to lower cholesterol. It is also good for diabetic patients, as it has a very low hypoglycaemic  index. Whether you roast and powder it to make sattu or grind it in the raw form to make besan, Bengal gram tastes amazing in any of these forms making us healthy every day.
Read on to know the goodness of the wondrous Bengal gram, so that you make it a point to have a bowl of it in your next meal.
Nutritional Value Of Bengal Gram
The calories in Bengal gram amount to 139 kcal. 100 grams of Bengal contain approximately
23 grams total carbohydrate
2.8 grams total fat
7.1 grams protein 
246 milligrams sodium
40 milligrams calcium
60 milligrams iron
875 milligrams potassium
20 milligrams vitamin A.
Health Benefits Of Bengal Gram
The advantages of incorporating black chana into your daily diet are limitless. Various studies have revealed that Bengal gram is not only beneficial to your body but also your mind. Let's get to know some of the amazing health benefits offered by Bengal gram.
1. Boosts energy
One of the most known benefits of Bengal gram is its ability to boost the total energy in your body. The rich source of proteins in Bengal gram help increase your energy level. The amino acid Methionine  in Bengal gram improves the cell functioning which directly has an impact on boosting the overall energy. The legume basically boosts your muscles with energy, improving the overall functioning of your body.
2. Prevents diabetes
The legumes of the chickpea family are known to have a good amount of fibre. Studies have revealed the effect fibre-rich food  can have on individuals with diabetes, especially type 1 and type 2. The dietary fibre content helps in the absorption of glucose, and maintain a normal level of blood insulin and sugar levels.
3. Improves digestion
The fibre content in Bengal gram helps improve your digestive system by improving the digestion process and preventing constipation. The regular consumption of Bengal gram can help relieve digestion-related problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea, indigestion and dyspepsia. Likewise, the starch  content in Bengal gram accords towards preventing the onset of constipation. The phytochemicals  called saponins (anti-oxidants) contribute to the action by maintaining a clean digestive tract, as it gets rid of the unwanted waste bulking.
4. Treats anaemia
The high content of iron and folate in Bengal gram  helps get rid of iron deficiency. It contributes towards boosting your haemoglobin count and is extremely beneficial during pregnancy, lactation and  menstruation.
5. Improves bone health
Bengal gram has a good content of calcium, which can help improve your bone health. The amount of calcium in the legume is beneficial to building as well as improving your bone  health. Along with this, the minute yet the advantageous amounts of calcium and phosphate improve the building mechanism of the bone  matrix; with the vitamins helping in the absorption of calcium.
6. Controls blood pressure
The low sodium content along with the ample amount of potassium is asserted to have a good impact on maintaining and balancing  your blood pressure. The sodium content retains the water content in your body which can cause a hike in the blood pressure level. That's where potassium comes to play by reducing the negative effect of sodium.
7. Improves cognitive function
Legumes are naturally rich in  choline, that can nourish your nerve cells, as well as help, relieve stress. Consumption of Bengal gram on a regular basis can help improve your brain functioning such as memory and learning.
8. Improves heart health
Bengal gram is rich in fibre, potassium and vitamin C, which plays a central role in improving your heart health. Along with this, the magnesium and the folate content in the dark brown-coloured legume  strengthen the blood vessels and reduces the bad cholesterol levels. Include this wonder pulse in your diet to stay away from cardiac risks and complications.
9. Prevents cancer
The selenium  content in Bengal gram is beneficial in curbing the spread of cancer-causing compounds in your body. The mineral detoxifies compounds such as the free radicals and prevents the onset of inflammation and tumour growth rates. The folate content in Bengal gram also helps in this case by preventing the multiplication and spreading of cancer cells.
10. Helps in weight loss & management
The abundance of fibre  content in Bengal gram is an effective natural aid for weight loss. The fibre maintains the sensation of feeling full, thus controlling your appetite. The legume is a rich source of protein, helping you in the process of an effective weight management system.
11. Balances hormonal levels in women
Phytonutrients  namely phytoestrogens (plant hormones) and saponins (anti-oxidants) are found in good quantities in Bengal gram. These phytonutrients help lower the risk of breast cancer. It maintains the blood levels of the oestrogen hormone and helps protect against osteoporosis. Bengal gram also counters the different mood swings during menstruation and post-menopausal phase in women. It is said to reduce menstrual cramps and pain.
12. Eliminates kidney & bladder stones
The diuretic  effect of Bengal gram makes it beneficial for the elimination of stones formed in the bladder and kidneys. The regular consumption of Bengal gram can help flush out the stones from your system.
Ways To Consume Bengal Gram
There are a number ways to gain the benefits of Bengal gram. The easiest way to consume Bengal gram is by boiling the legume. The healthiest way to consume it is by soaking the gram in water overnight or for several hours as it does not lose its health benefits in the process. It can also be roasted or fried.
Bengal Gram Recipes
It is very common for everybody to jump to the conclusion that healthy food is not always tasty. But, here are few tasty and healthy recipes of Bengal gram for you to indulge in. Take a look!
Healthy Bengal gram salad
- Boiled Bengal gram (dehulled)
- 1 fresh tomato
- 1 onion
- ½ lemon
- Coriander leaves
- Take a bowl and add the dehulled Bengal gram into it.
- Finely chop the tomato, onion and coriander leaves.
- Add the chopped items into the Bengal gram.
- Squeeze the lemon on top of the mix.
- Add salt.
- Mix well.
Spanish spinach with Bengal gram
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic (diced)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 6 cups spinach (finely chopped)
- ½ cup water
- 3 ½ cup cooked Bengal gram
- Salt (optional)
- Cook the garlic in a little bit of extra virgin oil, in medium heat.
- Add the finely chopped spinach, paprika and stir well.
- Add the water and salt and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked Bengal gram and stir gently.
- Cook for 5 more minutes.
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