How healthy is Besan (Gram Flour)?


Gram flour, more popularly known as besan, is highly nutritious with plenty of health benefits. In fact, besan is one of the most versatile ingredients found in Indian kitchens. Besides its edible preparations, besan is also extensively used in face packs for its anti-tan properties.

Now, if we were to tell you that besan not only supplies you with truckload of health benefits but also helps you lose weight along the way? Yes, that is correct. Besan has lesser calories than whole-wheat flour. According to various studies adding protein and fibre to your diet helps in controlling cravings because they take longer than carbohydrates to digest, and make you feel fuller for longer. Besan is also rich in fibre, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, vitamin B-6 and thiamine.

1 bowl of cooked chickpeas can fulfil approximately 20% of your daily protein requirement.

Here are a few health benefits of gram flour (besan):

  1. Lowers cholesterol:  Gram flour contains healthy unsaturated fats, which help in lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
  2. Controls diabetes: Besan has low glycemic index (only 10), which makes it a great ingredient for diabetics. Use it in your rotis or paranthas as a replacement for flour!
  3. Helps improve health of the heart: Besan has high soluble fibre content, which is beneficial for the health of the heart. The Heart Care Foundation also endorses it!
  4. Great gluten-free option: Besan does not contain gluten. Therefore, it is a great substitute for gluten-containing grains. A special note for those allergic to gluten!
  5. Helps getting rid of iron deficiency: It is rich in iron and daily consumption can help your body in recovering from iron deficiencies like anaemia.
  6. Great addition to pregnancy diet: Gram flour is rich in folate, a vitamin that is responsible for healthy development of brain and spinal cord of the foetus.
  7. Fights fatigue: Gram flour is a good source of the vitamin Thiamine, which helps the body in converting food into energy.
  8. Helps regulate mood and appetite: Besan is rich in vitamin B6, an important component involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in mood and appetite regulation.
  9. Helps regulate blood pressure: The magnesium content of besan helps in maintaining vascular health and also helps in the regulation of blood pressure.
  10. Helps in strengthening bones: The phosphorous in gram flour combines with calcium in the body to help in the formation of bones.

Here are some tasty and easy ways to add chickpea to your diet:

  • Dhokla: Dhokla is healthy, filling and tasty. Its preparation involves fermentation of the flour, which actually enhances its nutritive value. Two medium-sized pieces of steamed, homemade dhokla contain about 45 calories.
  • Chila: The nutty flavour of besan or chickpea flour makes it a tasty breakfast option. Make the batter for chila or besan pancake with curd or milk; add vegetables and pan-grill with minimal oil. Have it with a glass of low fat milk or curd.
  • Chaat: Chickpea chaat is easy to prepare. Take boiled chickpea; add raw, chopped onion and tomatoes. Sprinkle some black pepper, salt and squeeze fresh lime on top. It is the freshest and healthiest food you can snack on. A bowl of chickpea chaat contains approximately 120 calories.
  • Chickpea salad: Add finely chopped raw red bell peppers, onions, cucumber and tomatoes to a bowl of pre-boiled chickpeas. Use vinegar, lime, yogurt, crushed garlic, salt and pepper for dressing. Mix them together and sprinkle feta cheese on top.
  • Spicy chickpea soup: Heat the oil in the pressure cooker and sauté garlic and onion till it turns pinkish in colour. Add pre-boiled chickpeas, tomatoes, salt, cardamom powder, cumin seeds, 3 cups of hot water and wait for a single whistle. Serve it hot with coriander leaves. A bowl of this soup contains approximately 160 calories.

Now that you have enough reasons to add besan to your diet, just go ahead. What are you waiting for?