Being healthy and having beautiful skin and hair at the same time seems like an arduous task, doesn’t it? You have to watch what you eat and have to use many beauty products to get it right. Most of the time, you end up being overwhelmed by all the different products and supplements. The good news is, there are many natural ingredients that are very versatile with their use and can provide you with multiple beauty and health benefits. Chickpea is one such ingredient. When it is ground, it is known as gram flour or besan. You can use it on your skin and hair, and you can consume it to derive its benefits.
Benefits Of Gram Flour For Skin
1. Gets Rid Of Pimples
If you have oily skin, it may be prone to pesky pimples. Using too many cosmetic products to get rid of them can do you more harm than good in the long run.1 If you want a natural remedy, you can turn to gram flour. It absorbs excess oil and sebum from your skin. It has antibacterial properties, which help you get rid of bacteria that cause pimples.2 You can use it with honey, which also has antimicrobial properties. It moisturizes your skin due to its ability to preserve moisture.3
- Mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 2 tablespoons of gram flour.
- Apply the mixture evenly on your skin.
- Leave the pack for 20 to 30 minutes until it dies.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water, or wipe it off with a clean wet cloth.
- Pat your skin dry with a soft towel.
2. Removes Tan
When you spend quite some time out in the sun, you will notice that your skin appears darker than usual, or tanned. This is because your skin produces a pigment called melanin after being exposed to the rays of the sun.4 You may want to show off your tan after a vacation at a tropical location, but if you want to get back your natural skin color, you can use gram flour.
According to age-old traditions, gram flour has been known to remove tan.5 You should use it with other ingredients, such as lemon, yogurt, and turmeric to achieve desired results. Lemon juice contains vitamin C which helps reduce hyperpigmentation.6 Yogurt moisturizes your skin, and the turmeric imparts a natural glow to your skin.78
- Mix 2 tablespoons of gram flour, 1 tablespoon of yogurt, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of turmeric.
- Make it into a fine paste and apply it evenly on your skin.
- Allow the pack to dry.
- Wash it off with water.
- Pat your skin dry using a soft towel.
3. Exfoliates Dead Skin
If you want smooth, soft skin, cleansing is not always enough. You need to exfoliate, remove the top layer of the oldest or dead skin cells, to get the desired results. You can use chemicals to exfoliate your skin or you can do it manually. Since chemicals are harsh, they will not be suitable for all skin types.9 You can use gram flour to manually scrub dead skin from the surface of your skin.10 Use it with rice powder, almond powder, turmeric, and yogurt. The granules of the gram flour, rice powder, and almond powder are coarse, scrubbing your skin with them will exfoliate the top layer of your skin, revealing the fresh skin beneath.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of gram flour, 1 tablespoon of rice powder, 1 tablespoon of almond powder, and a pinch of turmeric.
- Add yogurt to the mixture until you get a smooth paste.
- Use the paste to gently scrub your skin for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Wash the paste off with cold water to tighten your pores after exfoliation.
Note Of Caution:
Be gentle when scrubbing your skin. Over exfoliation can result in skin damage.11
4. Reduces Oiliness
If your skin is oily, using a face pack made of gram flour will help restore your skin’s oil balance.12 It cleanses your skin and absorbs the excess oil. Add rosewater to the flour as it has mild astringent properties that will tone your skin.13
- Add rosewater to 2 tablespoons of gram flour until you get a smooth paste.
- Apply the paste on your face and neck.
- Let it sit on your skin for about 20 minutes, until it’s dry.
- Wash it off with cold water.
- Pat your skin dry with a soft towel.
5. Moisturizes Dry Skin
Gram flour has emulsifying properties so it will allow the even distribution of olive oil when you mix them together.14 The fats in olive oil and yogurt moisturize your skin, and the antioxidants in olive oil protect your skin from free radical damage.15
- Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of yogurt, to 2 tablespoons of gram flour.
- Mix the ingredients until you get a fine paste.
- Apply this paste on your skin and let it sit for 20 minutes.
- Wash it off with cold water.
- Pat dry with a soft towel.
6. Removes Fine Facial Hair
Fine hair on your face is usually not visible, but when you apply makeup or if your step into direct sunlight, they may stand out. Use a face pack containing gram flour, turmeric, and yogurt to get rid of those unwanted hair follicles. When the face pack dries and hardens, tiny hair follicles stick to it and come off then you rub it with your bare hands.16
- Mix 2 tablespoons of gram flour and 2 teaspoons of turmeric in a bowl.
- Add yogurt or milk to the mixture until you get a fine paste.
- Apply a thick, even layer on your face and let it dry completely.
- Rub the areas with hair in the opposite direction of hair growth.
- Remove the entire pack by rubbing.
- Wash your face with cold water or rub ice after removing the pack.
- Pat dry with a soft towel and moisturize your skin.
- Repeat it twice a week until all extra hair follicles are removed.
A Note Of Caution:
This removes fine hair and not thick hair such as your eyebrows and hair on your upper lips. You should be gentle so that you don’t end up damaging your skin.
Benefits Of Gram Flour For Hair
1. Cleanses Hair
Artificially prepared shampoos are laden with chemicals which can damage your hair.17 Instead, you can use gram flour to cleanse your hair.18 Mix it with orange peel, honey, and water and you have a chemical-free, natural shampoo in your hands. The oil from the orange peel adds shine to your hair and honey moisturizes it, leaving it feeling smooth and soft.1920 It might take a little extra effort on your side to rinse it out, but it is definitely worth it.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of gram flour with 1 tablespoon of orange peel powder.
- Add water till you get a smooth paste.
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey to the mixture and stir thoroughly.
- Use the paste as you would use shampoo (keep in mind that it will not lather like shampoo does).
- Rinse well and dry your hair.
2. Aids In Hair Growth
It is easy to imagine having long and strong hair, but it is very difficult actually having one. If you grow your hair out, you will usually notice that it is not exactly the way you want it to be. It will either be weak or thin and frail. Your hair needs extra nourishment to grow healthy and long and gram flour can help you with that. Use it with olive oil, and yogurt. Olive oil has antioxidants that protect your hair, and yogurt will nourish it.2122
- Mix 2 tablespoons of gram flour and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl.
- Add yogurt until you get a paste.
- Apply the mixture on your hair evenly and let it dry.
- Wash it off with cold water once it dries.
3. Fights Dandruff
It can get embarrassing to walk around with flakes of dandruff on your head. No amount of washing usually does the trick. Gram flour will help you get rid of dandruff.23 Use it with yogurt, which contains lactic acid that will cause the dry flakes of skin on your scalp to peel off faster.24
- Take 2 tablespoons of gram flour and add 3 tablespoons of yogurt to it.
- Mix it until you get a smooth paste.
- Add water if the consistency is too thick.
- Apply this paste on your scalp and hair.
- Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
- Wash it off with warm water.
- Dry using a towel.
4. Nourishes Dry Hair
If you have dry hair that feels rough and is hard to manage, you can use gram flour to nourish it. Make a pack using gram flour, olive oil, and yogurt and use it on your hair. The three ingredients will nourish your hair well. Gram flour has emulsifying properties that will allow the olive oil and yogurt to get distributed evenly throughout the mixture.25
- Mix 2 tablespoons of gram flour and a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add yogurt to it make a smooth paste.
- Apply the paste on your scalp and along the length of your hair.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes until it gets dry.
- Wash it off with cool water.
- Dry using a towel.
5. Improves Lustre
When your hair looks dull and lifeless, you can bring out its natural shine with the help of a hair mask made of gram flour, eggs, lemon, and yogurt. Egg are rich in proteins, fats, and minerals that make your hair more lustrous and manageable.26 The emulsifying properties of gram flour result in the even distribution of the eggs, lemon juice, and yogurt throughout the hair mask.27 It will help all the parts of your hair and scalp get equal nourishment from the hair mask.
- Mix 1 egg white, 2 tablespoons of gram flour, 1 teaspoon of lemon, and a tablespoon of yogurt.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly until you get a fine paste.
- Apply it generously along the entire length of your hair.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes until it dries.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water and a mild shampoo.
- Dry using a towel.
Health Benefits Of Gram Flour
1. Controls Diabetes
If you have diabetes, or someone you know does, then including gram flour in your diet is a good option. It gets digested slowly so it has a low glycemic index (GI), which means that it does not cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels. Low GI is important in lowering the incidence or severity of diabetes. Gram flour also improves your insulin sensitivity.28
2. Lowers Cholesterol
Having too much cholesterol in your body, especially low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, can take a toll on your overall health. It clogs your arteries and makes it harder for your heart to pump blood, which increases your blood pressure and your risk of heart stroke.29 One way to control your cholesterol is by eating right. Gram flour contains unsaturated fatty acids that help to reduce the cholesterol level of your body.3031
3. Regulates Mood And Appetite
If you are “not in the mood’ lately and feel either anxious or depressed, or if you are constantly hungry or don’t feel like eating at all, you can include gram flour in your diet. It is rich in Vitamin B6, which helps in the synthesis of a neurotransmitter called serotonin.3233Since serotonin helps govern your mood and appetite, it can help you feel and eat better. 34
4. Fights Fatigue
If you constantly feel tired or lack energy without actually doing much hard work, ensuring an adequate amount of gram flour in your diet will help you become more energetic. Gram flour contains the vitamin thiamin, which assists your body in converting food into energy.3536
5. Prevents Colorectal Cancer
Cancer is caused when certain cells in your body divide uncontrollably. It is a scary disease, but you can fight it, and better still, prevent it from happening in the first place. Gram flour is an ingredient that may help you prevent at least one form of it, colorectal cancer. Chickpea contains butyrate, which suppresses the proliferation of the cells of your colon.37 Grinding it and including it in your diet will help improve and maintain the health of your colon.
6. Regulates Blood Pressure
You may have to deal with a lot of stress, or you may not exercise and eat right. As you get older, these factors can cause you to have high blood pressure.38 You have to include magnesium in your diet as it plays an important role in maintaining your vascular health and regulating your blood pressure. It does so directly or by balancing other minerals, such as potassium, sodium, and calcium.39 Since gram flour is rich in magnesium, you can make it a regular part of your diet.40
7. Strengthens Bones
9. Improves Bowel Movements
If you have constipation or irregular bowel movements, you should consume gram flour on a regular basis. It is rich in fiber and leads to softer stool, makes defecation easier, and increases the frequency of defecation. It results in an overall improvement of your bowel health.43
10. Treats Anemia
Anemia is a condition in which your level of red blood cells is lower than normal. Iron deficiency can be one of the causes.44 Gram flour is rich in iron so it will help treat or prevent you from becoming anemic.45
Healthy Gram Flour Recipes
1. Gluten-Free Pudding
- 100g currants
- 100g raisins
- 50g apricots
- 50g prunes
- 50g almond flakes
- 150g pureed fresh pear
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
- 25g vegetable shortening
- 150 ml pear juice
- 2 eggs
- 50g gram flour
- 50g rice flour
- Mix all the ingredients, except the eggs and pear juice, in a bowl.
- Mix the eggs and pear juice thoroughly in a separate bowl and add it to the ingredients in the first bowl.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly until you get a dough.
- Put the dough into a pudding bowl.
- Cover the bowl with wax paper and secure it with a string or rubber bands.
- Add water to a deep pan (the level of water be less than half the height of the pudding bowl).
- Heat the water and place the pudding bowl in it.
- Cover the pan and let it simmer for 4 to 5 hours.
- Keep checking the water level, it should not dry out.
- After 4-5 hours remove the bowl from the pan.
- Replace the wax paper with a new one, let it cool, and serve.
2. Socca Pancakes
- 75g gram flour
- 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 finely chopped small red onion
- 2 chopped, roasted, red pepper
- A handful of fresh, chopped coriander
- 1 teaspoon fresh, ground pepper
- 6 finely diced, sundried tomatoes
- 1 sliced, ripe avocado
- Mix gram flour, baking powder, smoked paprika, thyme, and sea salt in a bowl.
- Add water to it and whisk until you get a thick batter.
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan on a medium flame.
- Add onions and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
- Increase the heat and add the batter.
- Cook the batter for 6 minutes and flip it over and cook it on the other side.
- Cook until the pancake is golden and crispy.
- Place the pancake on a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Garnish the pancake with sliced avocado, roasted peppers, and coriander.
- Season it with pepper and serve.
3. Gram Flour Flat Bread
- 100g of gram flour
- A pinch of salt
- Red chili flakes
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- A handful of chopped cilantro
- 2/3 cup of water
- Mix gram flour, salt, cilantro, and chili flakes in a bowl.
- Add 1/3 cup of water and whisk the mixture until you get a thick paste.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan on a high flame.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Tilt the pan at different angles to spread the batter.
- Cook the batter for 3 to 4 minutes until it becomes firm.
- Using a spatula, flip the batter and let it cook on the other side.
- Continue flipping until the batter is fully cooked and becomes golden brown.
- Remove it from the pan and place it on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- You can cut it into slices and serve it with ketchup, mayonnaise, or mustard.
A Word Of Caution Before You Start Using Gram Flour
Gram flour has many health benefits, but it is not suitable for everyone. Chickpea may contain allergens that cause hypersensitivity reactions, which can range from rhinitis to anaphylaxis.46 If you are consuming or using gram flour for the first time, you should try a small amount at first. Take a small bite or conduct a patch test on your skin. If you notice any symptoms such as a skin rash, swelling of any part of the body, especially the face, nausea, diarrhea, runny nose, or a headache, then you should discontinue using or consuming it. Consult your doctor if any of the symptoms persist.
Check with your family members, or if you have access, check their medical history for a record of food allergies. If any of your family members or close relatives have are allergic to certain foods, you may be allergic too.47 You can consult your doctor before trying out gram flour.
The good thing about gram flour is that it is gluten free. If you have an intolerance to gluten and miss out on many of the delicious wheat dishes, such as bread, pasta, muffins, or pancakes, you can enjoy the same using gram flour instead of wheat. It is a very healthy option and can be used for a variety of dishes.
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|↑2||Aslam, S.N., Stevenson, P.C., Kokubun, T., Hall, D.R. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of cicerfuran and related 2-arylbenzofurans and stilbenes. Microbiol. Res. 2007.|
|↑3, ↑20||Burlando, Bruno, and Laura Cornara. Honey in dermatology and skin care: a review. Journal of cosmetic dermatology. 2013.|
|↑4||Ortonne, J. P. The effects of ultraviolet exposure on skin melanin pigmentation. The Journal of international medical research. 1989.|
|↑5||Acharya Shunya. Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy.|
|↑6||Telang, Pumori Saokar. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian dermatology online journal. 2013.|
|↑7||Yeom, Gyoseon, Dae-Myoung Yun, Yun-Won Kang, Ji-Sook Kwon, In-Oh Kang, and Sun Yeou Kim. Clinical efficacy of facial masks containing yoghurt and Opuntia humifusa Raf.(F-YOP). Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2011.|
|↑8||Shenefelt, Philip D. 18 Herbal Treatment for Dermatologic Disorders. Lester Packer, Ph. D. 2011.|
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|↑10||Yoga Journal. Active Interest Media, Inc. 2004.|
|↑11||Ahmed Abdullah. Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin: A Back-to-Basics Approach. 2012.|
|↑12||Acharya Shunya. Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy|
|↑13||A Yoga Journal. Active Interest Media, Inc. 2002.|
|↑14, ↑25, ↑27||Kohajdová, Zlatica, Jolana Karovičová, and Michal Magala. Utilisation of chickpea flour for cracker production. Acta Chimica Slovaca. 2011.|
|↑15||Viola, Publio, and Marzia Viola. Virgin olive oil as a fundamental nutritional component and skin protector. Clinics in dermatology. 2009.|
|↑16||Issac Mathai. Dr. Mathai’s Holistic Health Guide for Women. Random House India. 2013.|
|↑17||T Chiu, Chin-Hsien, Shu-Hung Huang, and Hui-Min D Wang. A Review: Hair Health, Concerns of Shampoo Ingredients and Scalp Nourishing Treatments. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology. 2015.|
|↑18||Phulgenda Sinha. Yogic Cure for Common Diseases. Orient Paperbacks. 2000.|
|↑19||Juta Stepanovs. Skin Saver Remedies. Harald Tietze Publishing PL. 1999.|
|↑21||R. W. Owen, A. Giacosa, W. E. Hull, R. Haubner, B. Spiegelhalder, H. Bartsch. The Antioxidant/Anticancer Potential Of Phenolic Compounds Isolated From Olive Oil. European Journal Of Cancer. 2000.|
|↑22, ↑24||Walter P. Smith. Epidermal And Dermal Effects Of Topical Lactic Acid. Journal Of The American Academy Of Dermatology. 1996.|
|↑23||Workshop on “Himalayan Medicinal Plants: Potential and Prospects” (1988, Almora, India), and Uppeandra Dhar. “Himalayan Medicinal Plants: Potential and Prospects.” 2002.|
|↑26||Jainik Khamar, Pavan Chaudhury, Dhrubo Jyoti Sen. Lecithin As Phosphatidylcholine Emulsifier Of Mayonnaise In Treatment For Hair. World Journal Of Pharmacy And Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2015.|
|↑28, ↑30, ↑32, ↑35, ↑37, ↑40, ↑42, ↑43, ↑44||Jukanti, Aravind K., Pooran M. Gaur, C. L. L. Gowda, and Ravindra N. Chibbar. Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012.|
|↑29||High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need To Know. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑31||Grundy, Scott M. Monounsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol metabolism: implications for dietary recommendations. The Journal of nutrition. 1989.|
|↑33||Weissbach, Herbert, D.F. Boodanski, Betty G. Redfield, and Sidney Udenfriend. Studies on the effect of vitamin B6 on 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) formation. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1957.|
|↑34||Meltzer, H. Y., and J. F. Nash Jr. Serotonin and mood: neuroendocrine aspects. In Neuroendocrinology of Mood. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 1988.|
|↑36||Osiezagha, Kenneth, Shahid Ali, C. Freeman, Narviar C. Barker, Shagufta Jabeen, Sarbani Maitra, Yetunde Olagbemiro, William Richie, and Rahn K. Bailey. Thiamine deficiency and delirium. Innovative Clinical Neuroscience. 2013.|
|↑38||Kulkarni, S., I. O’Farrell, M. Erasi, and M. S. Kochar. Stress and hypertension. WMJ: official publication of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin. 1998.|
|↑39||Dyckner, Thomas, and P. O. Wester. Effect of magnesium on blood pressure. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1983.|
|↑41||Shapiro, R., and R. P. Heaney. Co-dependence of calcium and phosphorus for growth and bone development under conditions of varying deficiency. Bone. 2003.|
|↑45||Killip, Shersten, John M. Bennett, and Mara D. Chambers. Iron deficiency anemia. Children 1994, no. 1999. 2000.|
|↑46||Patil, Sangita P., Pramod V. Niphadkar, and Mrinal M. Bapat. Chickpea: a major food allergen in the Indian subcontinent and its clinical and immunochemical correlation. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 87, no. 2. 2001.|
|↑47||Koplin, Jennifer J., Katrina J. Allen, Lyle C. Gurrin, Rachel L. Peters, Adrian J. Lowe, Mimi LK Tang, and Shyamali C. Dharmage. The impact of family history of allergy on risk of food allergy: a population-based study of infants. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2013.|