Chickpea beans belong to the legumes family. They are very similar to kidney beans and peas. You may have heard people call them garbanzo beans too.
Chickpeas usually have a nutty flavor. The texture is somewhat buttery.
In the US you will often come across Kabuli chickpeas. These are round, larger, and tan. If you go to the Middle East and India, you will find Desi. Desi chickpeas are smaller, darker, and have a less round shape than Kabuli.
Chickpeas are the main ingredient of any hummus recipe.
There are many health benefits linked to these beans. So, today’s topic will give you info about some of them.
Where does chickpea come from?
Some data suggest chickpea beans have been used since 3500 BC in Turkey. There is also info that says these legumes were present in France back in 6970 BC.
But, today, chickpeas can be found almost anywhere.
Despite their broad presence, India is still the major producer of these legumes.
Chickpea nutrition value
Chickpeas are highly nutritious. If you’re looking for a moderate-calorie source of fiber, chickpeas are an option.
They also contain some vitamins, minerals, and proteins too.
So, check out what a 1-ounce or 28grams of chickpeas provide:
- Calories: 46
- Fiber: 2gr
- Carbs: 8gr
- Protein: 3gr
*RDI – recommended daily intake
- Folate: 12 % of the RDI
- Iron: 4% RDI
- Phosphorus: 5% RDI
- Copper: 5% RDI
- Manganese: 14% RDI
As you can see, chickpeas have a nice amount of nutrients. But, they also have some other health-related positive compounds.
7 chickpea health benefits
Similar to hummus benefits, chickpeas are also very healthy. Yup, these legume beans are full of healthy nutrients. So, be sure to check some of them.
- May keep blood sugar levels healthy
Chickpeas have a low glycemic index. That makes them a good food for managing blood sugar levels.
Some studies suggest that foods with a low GI are good for blood sugar control.
Besides that, chickpeas are a very nice source of fiber and protein. These two compounds play a great role in blood sugar regulation.
One study says that 45 persons who ate 728gr of chickpeas for 12 weeks had a decrease in their fasting insulin levels.
Foods that have blood-sugar-lowering effects are considered healthy.
Some studies say chickpeas can lower the risk of heart diseases and diabetes.
- Might help to maintain a healthy appetite
Chickpeas are rich in protein and fiber. These two compounds, together, can slow digestion. Therefore you may feel fuller for a longer period.
So when eating chickpeas, you may get the filling effects which can lead to lower calorie intake.
One data showed that people who ate about 104gr of chickpeas every day for 12 weeks told they were feeling fuller and weren’t eating as much junk food as when they didn’t eat chickpeas.
However, more research is needed regarding chickpeas and appetite.
- May help with weight management
If you want to control your weight, chickpeas might be a good choice. They are low in calories but high in nutrients.
So, that makes them a very nice option for people who want to lower their body mass index.
Plus, chickpeas are rich in fiber, and fiber can lower appetite. One study showed that people who ate chickpeas regularly had a 53% lower chance to become obese than those who didn’t eat them.
But, even though these results sound good, more research needs to be done when it comes to chickpeas and weight management. Like with any other food, it’s best to eat in moderation.
- Might be good for bowel
We all know fiber is healthy. Well, chickpeas have plenty of it. The fiber in chickpeas is mainly soluble.
That means it combines with water and creates a gel-like texture in the bowels. All of this can lead to the creation of healthy bacteria in the gut.
By having a healthy stomach, a person can lower the risk of developing certain diseases. Such as irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer.
One study showed that 42 people who consumed 104gr of chickpeas daily for a 12-week period had better bowel functioning than the ones who didn’t eat chickpeas.
- Potential chronic disease protection
Unfortunately, there are many chronic diseases out there. But, luckily we are surrounded by food that might be able to help us. Chickpeas are one of those healthy and protective foods.
Chickpeas are rich in magnesium and potassium, and these minerals are good for heart health.
They may prevent high blood pressure. So, that’s why they can lower the risk for heart disease. Chickpeas have plenty of soluble fiber.
These fibers have been shown to decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol. One study showed that after 12 weeks of eating 728gr of chickpeas, 45 people had reduced total cholesterol levels.
However, never try to skip your medication or change it with any food product. The same applies to chickpeas.
Even though they are considered healthy, chickpeas can’t be used instead of your medication.
Eating chickpeas may have some positive effects on cancer prevention. Chickpeas might help the body to produce butyrate.
This is a fatty acid that has a possible effect on reducing inflammation in colon cells. That means it can potentially reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Besides this, chickpeas are a source of saponins. These are plant compounds and they are believed to prevent some types of cancers.
Chickpeas have vitamin B within them, and it is also believed these vitamins may reduce the risk of breast and lung cancer.
However, when it comes to these kinds of studies, you should take them with a grain of salt.
As mentioned before, chickpeas have compounds that can keep blood sugar levels under control.
This indicates they can be a good food choice for diabetes prevention. The fiber and protein parts in chickpeas stop blood sugar from rising quickly after a meal.
Chickpeas have a low glycemic index which makes them a healthy option.
You can also find some vitamins and minerals in them that can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, such as magnesium, B vitamins, and zinc.
- Skin protection
Getting a tan is not healthy, but being in the sun is sometimes inevitable. That’s why it’s so important to eat foods that can be beneficial to our skin.
Chickpeas are one of those foods. It’s not illogical that you can find them in many warm parts of the world.
They are actually a natural sunblock. Chickpeas are rich in manganese. This nutrient has protective powers when it comes to skin.
One cup of cooked chickpeas has 85% of the RDI of this mineral. Manganese acts as an antioxidant for skin cell protection.
By protecting your skin from nasty UV rays, this mineral can also lessen the chance of rashes on the skin.
How to add chickpea beans to your diet?
A good thing about chickpeas is that you can easily add them to your diet.
They are not pricey and you can find them in various grocery stores. They are commonly sold in canned and dry forms.
Besides their overall presence on the market, you can also add them to plenty of meals. Of course, every hummus recipe consists of these little legumes.
Some people love to use aquafaba too. That’s leftover water from cooked chickpeas and it serves as an egg whites substitute.
Some people love roasting chickpea beans. This way these beans get a crunchy texture. Also, you can use chickpeas to make chickpeas flour. This kind of flour can be a nice substitute for white flour.
Chickpea side effects
Like any other food, chickpeas should be eaten in moderation. If you go overboard they may cause bloating and gas.
Also, if you have any health conditions you should consult with your doctor before consuming chickpeas.
Have in mind that one food can work great for some people, while others can feel side effects.
Don’t forget to prepare and store your chickpeas properly. They can go bad just like hummus can go bad too.
The bottom line
Chickpeas are interesting beans. Some studies say they have numerous health benefits. However, you should eat them in moderation.
Remember that these studies are not set in stone, and there might be some others that say otherwise. So, make sure to practice a healthy and diverse diet.
If you have some health condition, consult your doctor and never try to treat any health issues with foods and by yourself.
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