5 Health Benefits of Chickpeas

When versatile meals come up in dialog, chickpeas won’t be the very first thing that involves thoughts. However, these plant-based meals pack a dietary wallop — and may each add taste to savory dishes and bulk up candy treats. Dietitian Patricia Bridget Lane, RDN, LD/N, explains why chickpeas are so good for you — and the precise well being advantages they supply.

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What are chickpeas?

Chickpeas, that are also called the garbanzo bean, are labeled as a legume. They come from a plant — in truth, Lane notes they’re one of many earliest cultivated greens in historical past — and develop two to a few to a pod. However, chickpeas are thought of to be each a vegetable and a protein as a result of they’re so nutritious. Some individuals even take into account them a superfood.

Chickpeas diet data

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central, one cup of chickpeas has:

  • 269 energy
  • 14.5 grams (g) of protein
  • 4.25 g of fats
  • 44.9 g of carbohydrates
  • 12.5 g of dietary fiber
  • 80.4 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 4.74 mg of iron
  • 78.7 mg of magnesium
  • 276 mg of potassium
  • 11.5 mg of sodium

Why are chickpeas so wholesome?

Chickpeas are what’s often known as a whole protein as a result of they include all 9 important amino acids, that are constructing blocks that assist our our bodies perform correctly. “Chickpeas are also an excellent source of non-animal protein,” Lane provides. “They’re great for vegetarians and vegans.”

In addition, chickpeas are additionally brimming with nutritional vitamins and minerals. These embody choline, which helps your mind and nervous system run easily, in addition to folate, magnesium, potassium and iron. For good measure, chickpeas are additionally excessive in vitamin A, E and C. “That’s why they reap a ton of health benefits,” Lane says. “These little tiny peas are just packed with nutrition.”

The advantages of chickpeas

Because chickpeas are so stuffed with vitamins, they supply a number of well being advantages, together with:

Promote weight management

Chickpeas are excessive in fiber. In reality, the one-cup serving represents “roughly about almost half of the recommended daily fiber intake for adults,” Lane says. This promotes satiety (in different phrases, it helps you’re feeling full longer) so that you don’t overeat. “This can help people lose weight if they’re trying to do so,” she provides, “or maintain their weight.”

Prevent constipation

Because chickpeas are so excessive in fiber, additionally they assist stop constipation — which has the added bonus of retaining your gastrointestinal (intestine) well being in tip-top form.

Promote cardiovascular well being

Chickpeas are naturally very low in sodium and are cholesterol-free. They’re additionally a very good supply of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat particularly assist management (and cut back) your levels of cholesterol which, in flip, decreases your threat of growing heart disease.

Help management blood sugar

Chickpeas are low on the glycemic index, which implies they’re a meals that gained’t make your blood sugar spike. “This is a great food to incorporate if someone has trouble regulating their blood sugar,” Lane says. “Or if someone has diabetes, they’re good to help control blood sugar.”

Serve as an amazing substitute for anybody with gluten sensitivity

People dwelling with celiac disease develop a sensitivity to gluten, which may make dietary selections tough. Chickpeas, nevertheless, are an amazing choice: They’re naturally gluten-free.

Is chickpea pasta or flour simply as wholesome as consuming chickpeas?

Unlike different meals, chickpeas supply well being advantages regardless of the way you eat them as a result of the vitamins within the legume at all times stay bioavailable, a time period meaning your physique can reap optimistic advantages from them.

“You can eat chickpeas as natural as they come, right out of the can, or right out of the bag if you just want to boil them,” Lane says. “You can put them on a salad cold. You can muddle them into hummus. The way you eat them doesn’t really change their nutrient profile.”

The similar flexibility holds true for chickpea pasta or chickpea flour. Both choices are more healthy than common pasta constituted of white flour, they usually present well being advantages each method you put together them. “For instance, someone who likes pasta might switch to a garbanzo bean pasta to help control their blood sugar,” Lane suggests. “Someone who is using chickpea flour in a baking product might be doing so to accommodate a gluten-free preference for someone with celiac disease. They serve a health purpose.”

Are chickpeas at all times wholesome?

Lane does warning that you must at all times learn the ingredient label, as prepackaged meals can embody a whole lot of components. “The more natural the hummus is, the better it’s going to be for our bodies,” she says. “I always say a rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, there’s probably a problem.”

Although hummus is easy to make — at its core, it incorporates chickpeas, olive oil and tahini (a paste constituted of sesame seeds) — some varieties could be flavored by different elements, equivalent to chocolate. This can introduce further elements and cut back its healthiness, Lane notes. “You might be like, ‘Oh, well, this is healthier than consuming ice cream, or getting chocolate mousse for a party’,” she says. “Which it could be — but we want to make sure that we’re reading the carb content and seeing if there’s any added sugar in the serving size. If there’s 10 grams of carbs, 8 grams of that should not be from added sugar. You want to aim for less than half of added sugar per total gram of carb count.”

Lane provides that along with searching for carbohydrates and serving measurement, you must verify how a lot fats is in a given chickpea-based meals, particularly the quantity of saturated fats and trans fats. “Make sure there’s none of that in there, or very minimal amounts,” she advises.

The finest recipes for chickpeas

Chickpeas are good as a base for savory meals and is usually a substitute in candy dishes as properly. Healthy recipes that use chickpeas embody:

Although chickpeas are excessive in nutritional vitamins and minerals, they do lack vitamin D. (You’ll discover that in fortified milk or OJ, fatty fish, liver or egg yolks.) “Just because chickpeas are beneficial for us doesn’t mean that we should restrict ourselves from having other food groups as well,” Lane cautions. “For example, we need to pick up vitamin D elsewhere. It’s important to always have a well-rounded, balanced diet.”

Indeed, Lane says the really helpful serving of one-and-a-half cups of legumes per week is loads. “If someone is moving more towards a plant-based diet, they can substitute chickpeas as their protein for their meal. But you don’t want to overdo it. You don’t want to have cups and cups of chickpeas every day. Don’t forget moderation, and always keep variety in your diet.”

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