Chickpeas are the most sought after legumes in the world. In fact, they are used in various cuisines, including in the Middle East, India, Israel, Spain,
Chickpeas are the most sought-after legume in the world. They serve as ingredients in various cuisines, including the Middle East, India, Israel, Spain, and North Africa. This traditional bean has its origins in the Middle East. Its cultivation started as early as 7,500 years ago. Today, chickpeas have become an essential ingredient in many household kitchens.
Also called garbanzo beans and Ceci, they are small in size. They are usually available in dry form. And it is necessary to soak and cook them before consumption. In modern times, the consumption of chickpeas can be from a can, ground up into flour, stewed, or even pureed. When cooked, chickpeas have a grainy texture and nutty taste, making them an excellent accompaniment with many other foods. Apart from being very tasty, chickpeas are rich in fibre, minerals, and vitamins.
They offer many health benefits, like reducing risk factors to diseases, weight management, and improving digestion. Chickpeas are also very high in plant-based protein. The high-protein content in them makes them one of the best meat replacement ingredients. Thus, chickpeas are an essential part of vegan and vegetarian diets.
Table of Content
- Nutritional Value of Chickpeas
- Benefits of Consuming Chickpeas
- Best Ways to Incorporate Chickpeas
- Chickpeas and Weight Loss
Nutritional Value of Chickpeas
Chickpeas have a unique nutrition profile. In just a single 28 gram serving, there are only 46 calories and only 270 calories in one cup of boiled chickpeas. Nearly 67% of its weight comprises carbs, while the remaining chickpea consists of protein and fat.
Did you know that one cup of chickpeas provides up to 40% of your required amount of daily fibre, 70% of folate and 22% of iron? In addition, they have a low glycemic index. It means that your body digests this legume slowly, which helps you feel full for longer and prevents spikes in blood glucose levels.
Listed below is the nutritional profile of a 28 gram serving of boiled/cooked chickpeas:
- Calories: 101
- Carbohydrates: 17 grams
- Fat: 1.5 grams
- Fibre: 7.9 grams
- Protein: 4.8 grams
Benefits of Consuming Chickpeas
There are several health benefits of consuming chickpeas. These are:
1) Reduces blood glucose levels
The American Diabetes Association recommends chickpeas as a source of fibre for people with diabetes. A 2014 study states that eating 30g of fibre every day could reduce inflammation in individuals living with type 1 diabetes. Ideally, recommendations are that adults consume up to 28.0 grams of fibre a day.
Another 2018 study found that a high fibre diet helped lower blood sugar levels and minimised the risk of type 2 diabetes. That’s why dieticians advise including chickpeas in a diabetes-friendly meal plan.
2) Promotes Bone Health
Chickpeas contain calcium, iron, and phosphorus, all necessary minerals that promote healthy and strong bone structure. Therefore, incorporating them into your daily diet is an excellent way of preventing osteoporosis.
3) Manages Blood Pressure
Consuming chickpeas can help increase your potassium levels. Potassium helps reduce high blood pressure. The recommendations are that adults should consume 4,700 mg of potassium each day. They are naturally high in this mineral. You should add chickpeas to your diet to meet your daily potassium requirements. A cup of chickpeas (164g) has 474 mg of potassium.
If you’re planning to use canned chickpeas, pay attention to the sodium level in the ingredient listing. It is always best to cook with dry chickpeas to control and limit the sodium you consume. Recommendations suggest that you keep your sodium level below 2,300 each day to prevent cardiovascular disease.
4) Promotes heart health
Chickpeas are high in B vitamins, fibre, selenium, iron, and magnesium, ingredients that support heart health. Fibre decreases the risk of developing heart disease because it lowers blood cholesterol levels. They have no cholesterol!
5) Helps combat cancer
Free radicals are the cause of cancer. These are toxic substances that accumulate in the body due to poor metabolism. As toxin levels rise, cell damage occurs, causing a variety of health issues, including cancer. They contain antioxidants such as beta carotene and selenium. These are vital in removing free radicals. In a single cup of chickpeas, there is 6.1mcg of selenium.
The recommended daily requirement of selenium for adults is 55 mcg. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that is capable of protecting the body from developing cancer. This antioxidant coupled with fibre can help reduce your chances of developing colorectal cancer.
6) Reduces cholesterol
In a 2006 study, findings show that participants who consumed chickpeas regularly had low LDL levels (low-density lipoprotein) compared to those who only ate a wheat-based diet. The researchers pointed out that the high fibre content in chickpeas was responsible for reducing harmful cholesterol levels.
7) Improves mental health
In a single cup of chickpeas, there is 69.7mg of choline. Choline is an essential mineral for the nervous system and brain function. Choline plays a vital role in learning, memory, mood regulation, metabolism, and muscle control. The daily recommended intake of choline for adults is 400 to 550 mg of choline.
Recommended quantity can vary according to gender and conditions, like whether you’re breastfeeding or pregnant. In addition, the selenium content in chickpeas supports thinking and memory. A study examining the cognitive decline in the elderly found a decreased level of selenium.
8) Promotes regularity and digestion
Chickpeas are an excellent source of fibre. Consuming these daily helps keep you regular and promotes good gut health.
9) Aids weight management
If you’re trying to lose weight or stay within a healthy weight range, then chickpeas are your ally. The dietary fibre in them acts as a bulking agent. As a result, chickpeas will make you feel fuller for a longer time. In addition, their high protein content also contributes to reducing your appetite and therefore limiting your caloric intake.
10) Prevents iron deficiency
Iron is an essential mineral in the body. It helps red blood cells carry and deliver oxygen to the entire body. When there is an iron deficiency present in the body, it can cause tiredness and weakness. In addition, some life-threatening health conditions may arise due to low iron levels. Chickpeas are an excellent source of iron. When consumed with vitamin C, your body can absorb this mineral better.
Best Ways to Incorporate Chickpeas
You can easily include chickpeas into your diet. Listed below are two popular recipes that use this popular ingredient.
#1 Hummus- Middle Eastern Dip
- Cooked chickpeas – 1 cup
- freshly squeezed lemon juice – 60 ml
- Tahini – 60 ml
- Minced clove of garlic – 1
- Olive oil – 30 ml
- Ground cumin – ½ teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Water – 45 ml
- Paprika for garnishing
- Blend chickpeas, cumin powder, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in a mixer or food processor. Ensure the mixture is smooth and creamy in texture.
- Slowly and gradually add olive oil. Keep mixing.
- Depending on the thickness, add as much water as you like and continue to mix. However, do not exceed 45 ml of water.
- Once the ingredients are well-blended, remove them into a deep and wide bowl. Garnish the hummus with some paprika and or cumin and olive oil.
#2 Chickpea Salad
- Boiled chickpeas – 1 cup
- Extra virgin olive oil – 2 Tablespoons
- Lemon juice – Two teaspoons
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Chopped tomatoes – ½ cup
- Cubed cucumber – ½ cup
- Boiled chickpeas – 1 cup
- Sliced onion – ½
- Chopped coriander leaves – ¼ cup
- Black pepper – 1/8 tsp
- Mix all vegetables and the chickpeas in a deep bowl.
- Now, mix lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a separate mixing bowl.
- Pour over the cut vegetables and garnish with coriander.
Chickpeas and Weight Loss
Chickpeas are a known ingredient in combating excess weight because they are low in calories compared to the number of nutrients they provide. Suppose you eat low-calorie, high-fibre foods like chickpeas daily. In that case, you are highly likely to experience weight loss, especially when combined with some exercise. The high fibre and protein content in chickpeas promote weight loss because both the ingredients increase satiety levels.
A weight-loss study shows those people who consumed chickpeas regularly were 53% more likely to fit within a lower body mass index. Another meta-analyses study found that consuming chickpeas every day increased weight loss by 25%.
Chickpeas are legumes that were cultivated in the Middle East historically. Chickpeas are now famous worldwide. This small bean has a delicious nutty and buttery flavour, making it an excellent ingredient in many cuisines. Chickpeas also play a vital role in promoting health and preventing diseases. So make chickpeas a part of your daily diet and stay fit for life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A. Both chickpeas have an average of 5 grams of protein and 18 grams of carbohydrates.
A. Chickpeas are a great source of protein and dietary fibre, two nutrients that help control weight.
A. Chickpeas are a superfood consisting of protein, fibre and nutrients such as calcium, iron and more.
A. People should not eat raw chickpeas or other raw pulses, as they contain toxins and problematic substances to digest. In addition, even cooked chickpeas have complex sugars that can be difficult to digest and lead to intestinal gas and discomfort.