“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”Bethenny Frankel
When we talk of vegetarian sources of protein, we think of pulses, black gram, red gram, kidney beans. We usually forget one of the richest sources of protein and other minerals – the horse gram.
A horse gram is a short, climbing herb that bears flattened tiny seeds. They are red, brown, or black and resemble the shape of a curved beak.
Horse Gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum) has been used in multiple cuisines in India since ancient times. It is a crop native to Africa and South East Asia. According to the US National Academy of Sciences, it has been identified as a potential food source for the future (Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, Vol 15). This is primarily because of its high nutritional content and insurmountable drought tolerance and pest resistance.
Despite this, this super-food has been relegated as a ‘poor man’s food’.
Did You know that it is called horse gram because it was fed to horses?
Horse Gram is also known as Kulthi in Hindi. In Uttrakhand, where it is still consumed a lot, especially during the winters, it is known as Gahat. In various states across India, it is known by different names like Kollu, Hurule, Ulavalu etc.
Horse Gram is rich in nutrients like protein, calcium and iron.
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The horse gram has multiple benefits and has been used in Ayurvedic treatments for a long time. Here are some known uses and benefits of this humble crop.
1. Blood Sugar
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have found that unprocessed raw horse gram seeds possess anti-hyperglycemic properties. In fact, they also have qualities which reduce insulin resistance.
As a result, the horse gram may help in reducing blood sugar.
2. Kidney Stones
Horse gram has been used to dissolve kidney stones for many years in traditional medicine. A study published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India in 2010 concluded that Kulattha (or horse gram) can be used to reduce the recurrence of calcium oxalate stone and had better results than the use of conventional potassium citrate.
Regular intake of this food will thus, because of its diuretic property, prevent any formation of kidney stones in the body.
It contains lipids and fiber, which helps in promoting heart health by reducing LDL, which is the bad cholesterol. Many animal studies have also shown a remarkable reduction in lipid peroxidation. They have also proven that horse gram anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which protects the body against the impact of a high fat diet.
As such, it also helps in weight loss!!!
4. Skin Infections
Applying horse gram paste (made by soaking it overnight and blending) for half an hour over rashes, boils and other infections have been known to be useful because of its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
5. Parkinson and Alzheimers
The essential fatty acids in horse gram have been found to slow the onset of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Bone Health
Its high calcium content, makes it a great food for better bone health.
7. Other Benefits
There are many other benefits like protecting the liver, useful for healing ulcers, helpful in treating urinary discharge. It is rich in nutrients like flavonoids and polyphenols and promotes liver health.
How to Consume
Horse gram contains phytic acid. This prevents the absorption of nutrients. However as per studies, if you soak, sprout or cook the seeds, the phytic acid content is significantly reduced and you can reap the benefits of the amazing food.
Thus, it can be consumed in multiple ways:
- You can soak it overnight, and boil it and prepare a curry. (Here’s a video for preparing the curry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_ZdFr8u_Ds)
- You can sprout it and add it to salads.
- You can soak and lightly boil it, or use sprouted seeds, and make soup
So, add it to your menu today itself and reap the benefits of this amazing super food.
pic credit: indiamart