Goa’s Bounty : Cluster Beans (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba)
Cluster beans, locally known as chidki-midki in Goa, are a type of green beans that are grown abundantly in India. The dried seeds of cluster beans are processed to make Guar gum, which is used as a thickener in many food products like ice-cream. Cluster beans have several health benefits and are consumed in both vegetable and dried powdered form.
Containing only 15 Kcal per 100 grams, this vegetable is low in calories but a powerhouse of nutrients, rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fibre. The combination of high protein and fibre with low calories and fat offers heart health benefits. The soluble fibre in cluster beans is effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels. It also helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and has been shown to be effective in treating conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and Colitis. Cluster beans are also good for diabetics and individuals with insulin resistance because they prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal as the high fibre content slows down digestion.
Cluster beans are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and folic acid as well as calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. These nutrients have a variety of health benefits – for example, vitamin C makes the bones and teeth stronger, while vitamin K plays an important role in maintaining strong bones; the rich folic acid content benefits women during pregnancy; the rich iron and calcium content improves deficiencies in these vital nutrients. Finally, the high fibre content of cluster beans makes you feel full and satiated with less and is thus a good food to eat for weight loss – just go easy on the oil or butter!