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Besan: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction:  

Besan plays a major role in Indian cooking and is used in preparing different dishes across the country. Besan is prepared by grounding dried chickpeas into a fine powder which is a good source of proteins, fibre, essential amino acids and carbohydrates. Besan (chickpea) scientific name is Cicer arietinum L. and common ingredient in the kitchen. India, Turkey, Iran, USA, Mexico, Myanmar, Australia, Pakistan and Canada are the major producers of chickpea in which India stands top.1Let us discuss more besan and its importance in day-to-day life. 

besan benefits

Did you know?

  • Incorporating besan into your diet may help promote weight loss and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Consuming besan may help improve digestion due to its high fiber content. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Besan is gluten-free, making it a suitable alternative for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Besan has a low glycemic index, which means it does not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov

Nutritional Value of Besan: 

Besan or chickpea flour is a rich source of carbohydrates, fibre, sugars and proteins. It also contains plenty of minerals and vitamins.  

Nutritional component  Value  
Macronutrients  
Carbohydrates  57.8g 
Proteins  22.4g 
Fat  6.69g 
Fibre  10.8g 
Sugar  10.8g 
Energy  387kcal 
Minerals  
Iron  4.86mg  
Calcium  45mg  
Magnesium  166mg  
Phosphorous  318mg  
Sodium  64mg  
Potassium  846mg  
Zinc  2.81mg  
Copper  0.912mg  
Selenium  8.3μg  
Manganese  1.6mg  
Vitamins  
Vitamin B1 0.486mg  
Vitamin B2 0.106mg  
Vitamin B3 1.76mg  
Vitamin B5 0.606mg  
Vitamin B6 0.492mg 
Folate  437μg  

Did you know? One of the medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties of besan might include treating skin rashes due to mites.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Table 1: Nutritional value of Besan per 100g2 

Also Read: Kulthi Dal: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

Properties of Besan: 

The properties of Besan are given as follows.  

  • It may show antioxidant property  
  • It may help in weight management  
  • It may show the easy moment in bowel function  
  • It may help reduce blood cholesterol  
  • It may help lower blood pressure  
  • It may show anti-diabetic property1 

Mixing besan in bakery product dough! It is possible to produce bakery products with high nutritional values by using besan in bread recipes.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Toor Dal: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

Potential Uses of Besan for Overall Health: 

The variety of nutrients and phytochemicals may show potential uses against many disease conditions. Below are some potential uses of besan reported by animal and lab studies.  

1. Potential uses of besan for heart diseases: 

Besan contains a high amount of dietary fibre which may help lower the total cholesterol levels in the blood. The reduction in the total cholesterol levels may help in preventing heart diseases.  Maintaining chickpea in our regular diet may help in reducing blood pressure due to its high PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids).1However, large-scale human trials are required to support the use of besan against heart diseases in humans. Therefore, you must adhere to the doctor’s treatment.   

2. Potential uses of besan for cancer: 

A short chain fatty acid (SCFA), butyrate is present in chickpea and might have induced apoptosis (Cell death). The besan may help in downregulating the risk of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.1More research is needed to support the use of besan against cancer in humans. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use besan for its health benefits.  

3. Potential uses of besan for weight management: 

The high amount of dietary fibre in besan manages body mass index (BMI). The digestion of fibre takes more time in the stomach, and it feels heavy in our stomach.  Chickpeas are foods with a low glycemic index, and this may help in managing weight.1  However, you are required to talk to a dietician or nutritionist as they will be able to guide you about the benefits and limitations of each diet.   

4. Potential uses of besan for bowel health: 

Consumption of besan is associated with increased dietary fibre intake. High dietary fibre intake is associated with improved bowel movement, increased frequency, and ease of defecation.1 Therefore, adding besan to your diet may help to facilitate a good bowel movement. However, if you are struggling with bowel problems, reach out to your healthcare provider and get a proper diagnosis. Using any natural remedy without consulting a doctor can worsen the situation.  

5. Potential uses of besan for diabetes: 

Besan contains a high amount of resistant starch, and these starches are digested slowly, causing a reduced rise in blood glucose levels.  The low glycemic index (tendency to cause a lower spike in blood glucose) of besan is an important factor that may help prevent and reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes. Adding besan to a regular diet may be a good way to manage and prevent type 2 diabetes.1 However, diabetes is a serious disease that requires you to strictly adhere to the doctor’s advice and treatment. Reach out to your healthcare provider before using any natural remedy for diabetes.  

Though studies show the benefits of besan in various conditions, these are insufficient, and there is a need to conduct further studies to know the extent of the benefits of besan on human health.  

Other than medicinal uses, Besan might be used to enhance beauty as well. It has several benefits for both skin and hair. It is believed to lessen pigmentation on the skin and reduce skin oiliness, making it a potentially effective anti-pimple agent. It might act as a topically applied fairness agent since it lightens skin tone.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Also Read: Black Chana: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

How to Use Besan? 

There are several ways to use besan in cooking.  

  • You can use it as a replacement for regular flour in various recipes.  
  • Use it to make vegetable curries.  
  • You can use besan to make hummus spread. 3 

You must consult a qualified physician before taking besan or other herbal supplements. Likewise, you should not discontinue or replace an ongoing medicinal treatment with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Side Effects of Besan: 

Besan is rich in dietary fibre. A sudden rise in the daily fibre intake may cause abdominal pain and gas. Therefore, increase your fibre intake slowly to avoid side effects.4   

Also, before using any natural ingredient as a medicine, talk to a healthcare provider about the possible side effects associated with its use.  

Also Read: Can You Freeze Hummus? Your Guide To Extending Its Shelf Life

Precautions to Take with Besan: 

Here are some precautions you need to consider when using besan.  

In comparison to other pulses, gas production is higher after the consumption of chickpeas. Hence products made from besan, might also lead to gas production.1 

  • Precaution for pregnant women 

Besan can be a good source of nutrition for pregnant women as it is safe to be consumed during pregnancy. It is a good source of folate, a nutrient important for pregnant women.5  

  • Precaution for breastfeeding women 

Breastfeeding women may consume besan in moderate food amounts. However, consuming besan in excess can lead to abdominal pain and gas. 

  • Precaution for children and the elderly has not been stated separately. Therefore, there is a need for more research. However, it is advised to consult a doctor and discuss with them whether it is safe for children and older individuals to consume besan.  

Before using besan for its health benefits, talk to a healthcare provider about the possible precautions associated with its use. It will help you avoid side effects.  

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is a lack of information reporting the interaction of besan with other drugs. However, if you are taking medicine for any health condition, talk to a healthcare provider about the possible interactions of the treatment with other medications and common ingredients. This will help you make well-informed choices and avoid unwanted herb-drug interactions.  

Also Read: Dried Dates: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the benefits of eating besan?  

Besan may have many essential nutrients if involved in a regular diet. Besan may also help you manage blood glucose levels, facilitate good bowel movement, improve heart health and offer anticancer properties. These properties of besan have been observed through several studies and trials.1 More research is required to support the use of besan for its health benefits. Therefore, if you are suffering from any condition, talk to a qualified healthcare provider first.  

Can I use besan if I want to lose weight? 

Besan is good for weight loss. The high fibre content, low glycemic index and presence of resistant starches that digest slowly may help you manage and lose weight.1 However, if you want to lose weight, it is better to talk to a dietician or doctor before making major changes to your regular diet.  

Does besan cause any side effects? 

Besan is high in dietary fibre. A sudden increase in the daily fibre intake can give you abdominal pain and flatulence (gas).4 Therefore, you are advised to consume besan in moderation. Also, if you want to use besan for its health benefits, talk to a healthcare provider first and get a proper diagnosis.  

Is besan safe to consume for diabetic people? 

Besan is considered to have a low glycemic index, which causes a lesser blood glucose spike. Also, it contains resistant starches that are digested slowly which, keeps you full for a longer period and reduces food intake.1 These properties make besan a safe choice for diabetic people. However, avoid using natural remedies for diabetes without consulting with a healthcare provider.  

Can besan be used for treating high blood pressure? 

There are no reports regarding the effects of besan on high blood pressure. There is a need for more studies on this subject. 

References:  

1. Jukanti AK, Gaur PM, Gowda CLL, Chibbar RN. Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012 Aug;108(S1): S11–26. Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/nutritional-quality-and-health-benefits-of-chickpea-cicer-arietinum-l-a-review/BCD8920297E987AAABBC12BFF90EB0CF 

2. FoodData Central [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 9]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174288/nutrients 

3. The Nutrition Source. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans). [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 9]. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chickpeas-garbanzo-beans/ 

4. Dietary fibre – Better Health Channel [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 21]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/fibre-in-food 

5. Pregnancy and diet – Better Health Channel [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 9]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-and-diet 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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