Cowpea, also known as black-eyed pea that goes with a botanical name Vigna unguiculata is a versatile legume packed with an impressive nutrient profile. It is also known as southern pea, cow gram, Macassar bean, niebe, crowder pea and in the Indian subcontinent as chawli or lobia in Hindi, bobbarlu or alachandalu in Telugu, alasande in Kannada, karamani payir in Tamil, vanpayar in Malayalam and barbate in Bengali. It is an annual herbaceous legume that belongs to the Fabaceae family, which is cultivated widely in the dry regions across Africa and Asia.
Cowpea Health Benefits

Cowpea is an oval-shaped bean, pale in colour and has a distinct large black, brown or red spot that looks like an eye. Possessing a strong nutty, earthy flavour and rich creamy taste, it is used to make classic lobia chawal in Punjabi households and also served as gravies, soup and salad. The plethora of nutrients present in cowpeas are vital for the normal functioning of the body and may uplift overall well-being.

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Nutritional Facts:

Black-eyed peas are a nutrient-dense legume which is imbued with vast reserves of protein and dietary fibre into each serving that helps in strengthening immunity and synthesis of collagen. Overpowered with the richness of vitamins like A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, folic acid, that support healthy cells and tissues functioning. In addition, it also contains a huge amount of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, copper and phosphorus, as well as potent antioxidant polyphenols that aid in eliminating free radical from oxidising healthy cells in the body.

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Read through this article to gain insight into the powerful health benefits of chawli/cowpea.

Potential Benefits Of Chawli:
Potential Benefits of Chawli

Promotes Weight Loss

Rich in protein and soluble fibre, regular addition of chawli in your meal plan is the best way to shed excess kilos. Protein-rich foods reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates the feeling of hunger. While soluble fibre delays the gastric emptying time, keep you satiated and control unwanted hunger pangs. Studies have also revealed that adding black-eyed pea in the diet remarkably reduced belly fat and sustain weight.

Augments Heart Health

Relishing cowpea as a part of a healthy diet is a great way to optimise cardiac functioning and lower the risk of heart diseases. Being intrinsically rich in flavonoids, magnesium and potassium, cowpea regulates normal functioning of the cardiac muscles and lowers the inflammatory markers. While the abundance of dietary fibre and protein helps to diminish bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, triglycerides and control blood pressure. Apart from this, chawli also contain phytosterol compounds that help to maintain optimum lipid profile in the body.

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Manages Diabetes

Cowpeas are inherently low in glycemic index, as compared to other legumes and lentils, assists diabetic patients to maintain the blood sugar levels within the normal range. Aside from this, the goodness of soluble dietary fibre and protein keep you satiated, delays gastric emptying time and control blood sugar spike.

Improves Digestive health

Chawli is a good source of soluble fibre, which is a key nutrient when it comes to maintaining the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal system. A diet abundant in soluble fibre is well-known to regularise bowel movements, treat acid reflux, haemorrhoids and stomach ulcers. Moreover, black-eyed peas act as a prebiotic, enhancing the growth of the good bacteria in the gut that facilitate to foster healthy microbiome that act as a digestive aid, reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.

Enhances Skin Health

Cowpea bestowed with vast reserves of protein, zinc, vitamins A and C supports collagen synthesis and accelerates the process of skin repair and formation of new skin cells. Being immensely rich in antioxidants, it shields the skin cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, thereby mitigates wrinkles, fine lines and delays sign of ageing. Thus making the skin supple, healthy and radiant.

Combats Infections

Blessed with a myriad of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and polyphenols, chawli holds a significant role in lowering the risk of chronic diseases. Regular addition of cowpeas can help to get rid of detrimental free radicals, which can avert the growth of tumour cells and maintain optimal health.

Good For Pregnant Women

Chawli has immense quantities of folate (vitamin B9) that helps the body to synthesis and maintain red blood cells. This vitamin is of crucial importance for women who are planning to conceive, as well as pregnant women. As folate plays a vital role in preventing congenital defects in the foetus.

Uses For Hair

Prevents Hair Loss

Cowpea bestowed with a rich array of hair-friendly nutrients works as a sure shot solution for hair loss. Adding cowpea into a meal plan helps to strengthen hair follicles and reduce hair fall.

Promotes Hair Growth

Cowpeas facilitate the growth of hair to a remarkable extent. Being rich in protein, which is one of the main elements of hair growth. Thus, regular intake of cowpea can boost the protein content and help to grow your mane stronger and voluminous.

Ways To Include Cowpea Into Your Diet Plan

Cowpea /black-eyed peas being nutritious and delicious are greatly versatile. It is easy to add and relish in a spectrum of culinary delights. Cowpeas have a mild, nutty aroma and rich creamy taste, that is slightly earthy.

Make sure to soak dry beans in water for at least 4-6 hours, this helps to speed up the cooking process, as well as makes it easier to digest. However, overnight soaking is not needed, but the cooking time can be lessened if they are soaked in hot for 1-2 hours.

  • Cowpeas can be blended with meat, spices, and other vegetables to make rich curries
  • It can be used to make soups, stews, and salads
  • Cowpeas can be used to make tasty kebab, fritters

Side Effects:

Cowpea may cause digestive discomfort for some people such as abdominal pain, gas and bloating due to the presence of raffinose, a kind of fibre that may upset tummy. However, soaking dried beans before cooking them helps to lower raffinose content and promotes smooth digestion. It also contains antinutrients like phytic acids which may hinder the absorption of vital nutrients. Hence, it is best to soak and cook them before consumption which can significantly lower phytic acid level and enhance better nutrient absorption.


Cowpeas/chawli are packed with essential nutrients which offer a wallop of health benefits such as support weight loss, promotes digestive health, regulate diabetes and optimise cardiac wellness. They are also versatile, flavourful and tasty that can be easily added into a spectrum of dishes as part of a wholesome diet.