We see, Chickpeas or Chana being given as Prasadam(benediction) in Hindu temples and Poojas (worships). Ever wondered, why only these are given? And where else they are generally used? Let’s know every detail,about their Benefits.
Chickpeas or Chana or Senagalu in Hinduism :
They were being used in India, since ages as:
- Thambulam: On the day of Varalaksmi Vratham or Pooja, soaked chickpeas, along with beetle leaf, beetle nut (Aaku, vakka) and fruit are given as Vaayanam Or Thambulam.
- Prasadam: In the Temples and Pooja, mainly during Durga Navaratri, they are offered as Prasadam (benediction). Soaked peas, which are cooked and fried in little oil, with seasoning enriching it’s taste, are the favourite for every one.
- Dosha nivarana: Chana, mainly the Kala chana (black Chana) are offered to Brihaspati (Guru or jupiter) to get blessings from him, when suffering with any astrological issues (graha dosha)
- Garland: It is interesting to note that, students make a Garland of the soaked chickpeas as an offering to Brihaspati (Guru), for the educational blessings.
In Hinduism, every tradition has precious reasons behind it, which we must know. Let’s do that now.
Reasons, behind the Traditions:
Thambulam: As India is a Sacred land of traditions, Daana-Dharma are given the utmost importance. People usually give Daana( Donations) with much generosity and follow Dharma (a righteous way of life).
So, as a part of it, giving food (Annadaana) is considered the best of all daanas. Chana is selected for donating, as they are very rich in all the Nutrients and boost Immunity.
- Varalakshmi Pooja is celebrated in the Sravana maasam, which comes during a rainy season. The temperature of human body is neutral in this season, high in summer and Low in winter.So, this season is considered the best time to have them. And also the infections rate is higher in rainy season, which is prevented by Immune boosting, Chickpeas.
- Prasadam: Protein richness, and many Vitamin benefits, made it a best option to offer as Prasadam. In Hinduism, the concept of giving Prasadam as God’s blessing has many beautiful reasons like this.
- Dosha nivarana: When in any difficult times, Astrologers or Gurus usually suggest to offer some Pulses or Cereals to poor people.Although they are given by people to please the Grahas(gods), the actual reason is to cultivate a good habit of serving even in the tough times, which makes the mankind realise that, there are still some people who are not in a position, to buy food for themselves. Pulses or Cereals form staple foods too.
- Garland: Students are asked to offer something to God, to excel in studies, this doesn’t mean to avoid hardworking.A support and confidence, they get by offering or praying, helps them to defeat the nervousness and inferiority during exam times.
Importance of Chickpeas plant:
- Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is a nutritious legume, found to a plant with white flowers (with blue , purple veins) and seed pods with 2-3 pods in each.
- This plant grows in all seasons and farmers love it because, these plants increase the Nitrogen content of the soil, which is beneficial for the other crops too.
- India is the largest producer of chickpeas in the world.
- It is called with different names like Bengal gram, Garbanzo beans, Egyptian pea,
Senagalu is Telugu, Chana or Chole in Hindi, Kadala in Malayalam, Kondaikadali in Tamil, Kadale in kannada.
Types of Chickpeas :
There are mainly two types of Chickpeas called the White and Black types.
1. Kaala/desi chana or black Chickpeas:
These are dark in colour and the outer layer is shrunk and rough in texture. These are believed to be more nutritious than the other type and used for all traditional purposes.
2. Kabuli chana or white Chickpeas:
These are usually a bit bigger in size and lighter in colour than the Kala chana. Outer layer is smooth, compared to first type.
Both the varieties of chickpeas have a Nutty taste and share the same recipes.
Do you know? The name Chickpea, came for it’s appearance resembling the chick ”s beak.
Ways to have Chickpeas:
- Soaked Chana
- Roasted with little oil
- Cooked+ Oil+ Seasoning
Nutritional value of Chickpeas per 100gms:
|Vitamin||C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9|
|Minerals||Iron, Manganese, Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium|
*as per USDA
I know, you are very eagerly waiting to know, the total medicinal benefits. There are too many in number. Why late? Let’s know.
Medicinal benefits of Chickpeas :
As the Glycemic Index of chickpeas is 27, they are highly recommended for diabetics. It means that, when consumed, they don’t spike the glucose levels in the body. Sufferers of PCOS and diabetes can utilise them well.
Chickpeas are known to increase the Sperm count in men. They provoke Menstruation, reduce Hot flushes in Menopausal women.
Magnesium in it, helps in the Fertility issues of both the genders. Folic acid in it, is very much important to the Pregnant and Lactating women.
Do you know? Chickpeas also help in the Anaemic conditions, as they are the powerhouse of Iron. Chickpeas Hummus with lemon in it, gives the best combination of Vitamin C and Iron, which help in absorption of each other.
High fibre content, helps in giving a feeling of Satiety (fullness) even with a small quantity. So, weight loss aspirants! Don’t stop now.
Another benefit of high fibre is that, It aids in a good Digestion and prevents Constipation.
Vitamin B6 and Zinc help in the hair growth and Protein helps in building the hair follicle and preventing grey hair.
Externally: Take Chickpeas powder and add water to make it into a paste (or mash the soaked peas). Apply this on to the scalp, to remove dandruff and get a shine.
5. Skin health:
It has wide variety of benefits on Skin.
- Vitiligo : When soaked with few spoons of Triphala churna overnight, it serves as a medicine for Vitiligo or Leucoderma. Take it constantly, for 1-2 months to get rid of those white patches.
- Fungal infections: Itching in the Scalp, Groin, between Nails and Foldings can be reduced. Even the fungal infections are prevented by consuming the Chana.
- Mouth ulcers and Inflammation: Vitamin C, promotes a good Skin health and prevents the irritation of skin, ulcers and inflammations.
- Beauty : Clogged pores can be cleaned and wrinkles are lessened by applying the chickpea paste on skin. It’s alkaline nature, helps in doing so.
Ayurveda suggests daily intake of Chanaka or Chana, as it balances the 3 Doshas- Vaata, Pitta and Kapha.
It also prevents the formation of Plaques in the arteries, as it has zero cholesterol and even stops the formation of bad cholesterol. Heart diseases can be kept at a bay.
7. Cancer :
The Phytochemicals in Chick peas are rich in Antioxidants, which can prevent cancer.
Rich nutritional values like Vitamin C, Iron, Protein and Anti fungal properties, help in boosting Immunity.
So, can we really stop ourselves from eating Chickpeas, after knowing these many benefits? No, don’t do it too🙊
This is why, our Ancestors have planned it so well, in the form of traditions. Today, they fulfill all the human needs.
Include Chickpeas, in Breakfasts and Lunch from now. From the next time, you will love more to take Prasadam at Temples😀