Are you a fan of gram flour but worried about its impact on your digestive system?
You’re not alone. Many people wonder if gram flour, also known as chickpea flour, can cause acidity. While some sources suggest that it is an acidic food, others claim that it can actually help alleviate digestive issues.
So, what’s the truth?
In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between gram flour and acidity, and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about including it in your diet.
Let’s dive in!
Does Gram Flour Cause Acidity?
The short answer is that gram flour is considered to be an acidic food. Chickpeas, the main ingredient in gram flour, have a pH level of 5.5 once digested, which is on the acidic side of the pH scale.
However, it’s important to note that not all acidic foods necessarily cause acidity in the body. When we eat food, it breaks down into an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic, or alkaline. Some minerals, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper, and iron, produce an alkaline ash. On the other hand, sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine, and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy, and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
While gram flour is considered to be an acidic food, it also contains soluble fiber which can help slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This is particularly beneficial for people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. In fact, high-fiber diets are considered to be a more effective natural remedy for type 2 diabetes than low-fiber diets.
Additionally, gram flour contains complex carbohydrates that are slowly digested by the body and used for energy over time. This means that it has a lower glycemic load than refined flours which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
What Is Gram Flour?
Gram flour, also known as besan or chickpea flour, is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern, Indian, and African cuisine. It is made by grinding dried chickpeas into a fine powder. Gram flour is high in protein, fiber, folate, manganese, copper, magnesium, and other nutrients. It has a naturally sweet and rich flavor that is similar to coconut flour.
Gram flour has a variety of health benefits. It can support digestive and heart health and is filling due to its high protein and fiber content. It is also gluten-free, making it a great alternative for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Making homemade chickpea flour is easy as long as you have a food processor. Simply soak the chickpeas, dehydrate or dry them, and then grind them into a fine powder. This gluten-free flour can be used in baking, soups, and as a substitute for regular flour.
Understanding Acidity And Its Causes
Acidity or heartburn is caused by the presence of excessive acid in the stomach and/or when stomach acids are pushed upward. This can cause a burning sensation in the upper chest area and near the throat. Acidity usually occurs due to erroneous eating habits, incorrect posture, or pressure in the abdominal area. It can occur at any time of the day, but it is most commonly experienced after meals, at night while lying down, or if there is strain in the intra-abdominal area.
There are several factors that can contribute to acidity. Excessive consumption of alcohol, spicy and fried food, or increased intake of tea and coffee can all trigger heartburn. Fast foods containing refined wheat flour, tobacco, meat, and chicken can also cause acidity. Stress, erratic hours of sleep, certain drugs like sulfa and some steroids, carminatives like peppermint, cigarette smoke, and tobacco are other factors that can contribute to acidity.
During the last trimester of pregnancy, the growing baby in the uterus exerts pressure on the digestive area and this leads to moderate to severe acidity. Unnecessary pressure on the digestive tract often causes acidity in overweight people.
It’s important to note that not all acidic foods necessarily cause acidity in the body. When we eat food, it breaks down into an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic, or alkaline. Some minerals produce an alkaline ash while others leave an acid ash. For example, sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine, and iodine found in meat, coffee, dairy, and alcohol leave an acid ash.
Is Gram Flour An Acidic Food?
Yes, gram flour is considered to be an acidic food. This is because its main ingredient, chickpeas, have a pH level of 5.5 once digested. However, not all acidic foods necessarily cause acidity in the body. The ash residue left behind after food is broken down can be neutral, acidic, or alkaline depending on the minerals present. Gram flour also contains soluble fiber and complex carbohydrates which can provide health benefits such as slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and having a lower glycemic load than refined flours.
Health Benefits Of Gram Flour
Gram flour, also known as besan or chickpea flour, is a nutrient-dense food that offers a wide range of health benefits. It is high in fiber, protein, folate, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. Here are some of the health benefits of gram flour:
1. Supports Digestive Health: Gram flour is rich in soluble fiber which helps to promote healthy digestion by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This can help to regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.
2. Aids in Weight Loss: Gram flour is low in saturated fats and has a low glycemic index which makes it an excellent option for including in a weight loss diet. The fiber content in gram flour helps to make you feel full for longer and aids in digestion. Studies have shown that including chickpea flour in your diet can be helpful in weight loss both by increasing the feeling of fullness and due to the low glycemic load.
3. Heart Health: Gram flour is rich in healthy dietary fats that include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are good for heart health. It also contains polyunsaturated fatty acids that could help lower cholesterol levels.
4. Good for Pregnancy: Gram flour is an excellent source of folate which plays an important role in preventing spinal cord defects during pregnancy. One cup of gram flour provides 101% of the recommended daily intake for folate.
5. Boosts Immunity: Gram flour contains several minerals such as copper and manganese which are essential for boosting immunity and fighting infections.
How To Incorporate Gram Flour Into Your Diet Without Causing Acidity
If you’re concerned about the potential acidity of gram flour, there are a few ways to incorporate it into your diet without causing discomfort. One option is to combine gram flour with alkaline foods, such as bananas, melons, cauliflower, fennel, and nuts. This can help balance out the pH levels in your body and reduce the risk of acidity.
Another option is to cook gram flour in a way that reduces its antinutrient content. Antinutrients are compounds that can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients in the body, including minerals like iron and zinc. Soaking and discarding the soaking water before cooking can help reduce antinutrient content in beans and legumes, including chickpeas.
Additionally, you can try incorporating gram flour into recipes that also contain alkaline ingredients. For example, you could make a chickpea flour pancake with mashed bananas and nuts for added flavor and nutrition. Or, you could add gram flour to a cauliflower-based pizza crust for a low-carb, high-fiber meal.
Other Foods That Can Cause Acidity And How To Avoid Them
Aside from gram flour, there are other foods that can cause acidity and worsen acid reflux symptoms. These include:
1. Citrus fruits – Lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruit all contain high amounts of citric acid which can cause the stomach to produce more acid.
2. Chocolate – Chocolate contains caffeine, cocoa, and plant chemicals that can trigger heartburn. Additionally, a chemical in cocoa relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), making it easier for stomach contents to leak into the esophagus.
3. Peppermint – Peppermint is known for soothing an irritable bowel, but it has the opposite effect on acid reflux. Peppermint relaxes the muscles used for digestion and can lead to a leaky LES.
4. Fatty foods – Fatty foods relax the LES and are slower to digest than other foods. When food sits in the stomach longer, the body responds by producing more acid. Fried foods like onion rings, prime rib or bacon, and whole milk dairy products can cause symptoms.
5. Spicy foods – Spicy foods make acid reflux worse in two ways. First, the capsaicin in many spicy foods can slow digestion. But before it even gets that far, it can irritate an already irritated esophagus on its way down.
6. Acidic foods and drinks – Acidic foods are common triggers of acid reflux. Foods like citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato products, pineapple, and vinaigrette salad dressings all have a high acid content, contributing to an already acidic environment.
7. Garlic and onions – Raw garlic and onions stimulate acid production which puts you at risk for heartburn.
8. Drinks containing alcohol, caffeine, or carbonation – Alcohol and caffeine both relax the LES, allowing acid to leak up your esophagus. The bubbles in carbonation expand your stomach, pushing stomach contents up against the LES.
To avoid these trigger foods, it’s important to read food labels carefully and make conscious choices about what you eat. Opt for lean meats, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains like oatmeal, couscous, brown rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, asparagus, broccoli, and green beans. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks as well as the aforementioned trigger foods to help manage symptoms of acid reflux or GERD.