Some of the most quintessential Indian snacks and street food have one ingredient in common – besan. Hot pakoras, vada pav, dhokla, sev, the list can go on. If you start compiling a list of sweets made out of besan, that list will also be equally long. This versatile flour is widely used because of its taste and easy availability. Above all, gram flour or besan is extremely nutritious and filled with tons of benefits which makes it an integral part of the Indian pantry.
Nutritional benefits of besan include the following:
Besan flour is made from chana dal, a legume. It has higher protein content in comparison to wheat and refined flour. 100 grams of besan can have approximately 22 grams of protein. Making it ideal for vegetarians trying to increase their protein intake or working towards weight loss.
Besan is packed with minerals such as iron, phosphorous and magnesium. These micro-nutrients are essential to the human body. Iron functions as an antioxidant and is essential in the production of collagen. Magnesium is necessary to vascular health and regulation of blood pressure. Phosphorous is vital for bone health.
It is possible to meet your body’s folate requirements by consuming besan. One half-cup of besan has up to 201 micrograms of folate which is half of the recommended daily intake. Folate is essential for production of genetic material and protein, especially during a period of growth. It is also an excellent source of other vitamins such as thiamine and vitamin B-6; both of these are required to maintain appetite and mood.
Along with being protein-rich, besan also has a high fibre content, making it a perfect addition to the diet if you are looking lose weight. 100 grams of gram flour has approximately 11 grams of fibre. High Fibre foods such as besan keep you satiated for a longer time and help with digestion.
Besan contains the healthy, unsaturated fats which can help lower cholesterol levels in the body. Good fat is essential to the body as it helps absorb fat soluble nutrients, support cell growth and provides energy to the body. It is also crucial for production of certain hormones. The good fat in gram flour contributes to our required fat intake.
So besan is a powerhouse of nutrients, no doubt. But getting the maximum nutritional benefit off it, depends on how you prepare it. Dhoklas and besan ladoos are definitely some of the many healthy preparations that can help you get the maximum benefit from gram flour.
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