- Wednesday, 03 September 2014
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 05:24
- Published Date
- Written by India Tomorrow Bureau
Urad dal is a special bean that originated in India and has been grown in India from before the time of Christ 2,000 years ago.
Black Urad dal in English is known as 'Black Gram dal' and also as black lentil. In Hindi, Black Gram Dal is known as Urad dhuli (Black gram skinned), Urad chilka (Black gram split) and Urad sabut or Urad saboot (Black gram whole). It is called Kali dal in Hindi, Ulundu Paruppu in Tamil, Minappappu in Telugu and Uzhunnu Parrippu in Malayalam.
The scientific name of Urad dal is 'Vigna Mungo'. Urad dal is unique in the plant kingdom, because it is only one of a handful of seeds to contain Essential Fatty Acids or EFA, which the human body cannot produce even though they’re an essential nutrient for it, especially for the human brain. Many of the memory enhancer tablets contain Essential Fatty Acids, which is considered a brain food.
Observers and students have for ages wondered why the Hindus of India, who were pure vegetarians, became so brainy. Hindus are considered an intelligent set of people. Even the British, during their rule in India, preferred to employ Hindus for all clerical and higher posts where they needed to use their brains. The secret may be that they used to consume a lot of fermented urad dal food like idly, dosa, vada, etc. Scientists and doctors are just about discovering the benefits of good bacteria for human beings — 'Prebiotics' and 'Probiotics'. Probiotics is about the live good bacteria that we consume in food like yogurt.
Urad dal has also been prescribed in Ayurveda for pregnant women and for men's sexual health problems. Known as 'Masha' in ancient Ayurvedic texts, Urad dal is considered safe during pregnancy and is recommended as food of choice or pregnant women. It is also good for diabetes and is recommended by the Ayurvedic medical science. The ancient Hindu treatise on health and medicine also says that Urad dal is good for men's sexual health problems like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Modern medical research confirms the relation between urad dal and testosterone, the male hormone and thus confirms the benefits of urad dal which has been known to Ayurveda for thousands of years.
Those accustomed for a long time to Western diets, which have very little fibre in their food, may experience some gas problems initially on consuming urad dal prebiotic foods like idli and dosas. Idli and Dosa, being a fermented food, all sugars and simple starches or carbohydrates are converted by the fermentation process into more nutritious food. Prebiotic food like urad dal, which are complex starches are not changed by the fermentation process. It cannot be digested by our regular digestive process either, since it requires the good bacteria in our lower intestines to digest them.
But eating urad dal through our daily idli and dosas does make us much healthier with the SCFA (Short Chain Fatty Acids) and brainier with the EFA (Essential Fatty Acids). There is even research evidence suggesting that diets containing high contents of urad dal prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia. So it is good for even the older generation.
In countries like the US and Europe where all beans and dals imported into their country is subject to irradiation to kill all living things, one may have to think of urad dal substitutes for the fermentation process. One could use bakers yeast, hich is available in packets in supermarkets, but to get the natural goodness of the natural yeasts and other good bacteria in beans, try to substitute urd dal with locally grown beans like Soya beans.
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