Chickpeas – Why Should This Legume Be in Your Meals?

Some interesting facts about chickpeas

  • Chickpeas are among the primarily cultivated legumes globally. This means chickpeas were cultivated around 7500 years ago in ancient civilizations like Rome, Egypt, and even Greece.
  • With a combination of amazing nutrition, easy cultivation process, and mind-blowing taste, chickpeas rank second among the widely grown legumes.
  • In the year 2016, the total production of chickpeas globally was 12.1 million tons.
  • Chickpeas are among the best sources of obtaining folate.
  • The Romans in the ancient time’s allied chickpeas with Venus, the Roman Goddess for beauty, fertility, sex, and love. The reason behind this is the health benefit of chickpeas in increasing the sperm count and milk along with stimulating menses.
  • Chickpeas are among the best sources for obtaining dietary fiber which reduces the chances of the occurrence of heart attack, particular cancer, and diabetes.
  • Chickpeas also help in regulating the blood sugar levels and quicken the digestion. It also keeps you full for a long time.
  • Chickpeas are one of the best supplements to coffee and other caffeine as it is totally caffeine-free.
  • Chickpeas are obtained in various different colors like black, green, red, pinkish, and brown also.
  • Having chickpeas regularly in your diet is helpful for reducing the bad cholesterol levels.

Chickpeas – A Primary and Healthy Legume

Chikpeas Health Benefits Nutritional Value

There are many people who are fond of having Chole Chana. But do you know there are various health benefits associated with this nutty, buttery, and creamy legume?

Also termed as Garbanzo Beans, Chickpeas belong to the legume family. Commonly available in round shape as well as beige color, the chickpeas are filled with a bundle of health benefits. Popularly known as Kabuli Chana in India, these are a variety of chickpeas that are round, a little large, and tan in features. The uses of chickpeas are not only limited to chole. It is included to make a healthy salad, healthy hummus, chips, pasta, and even the dough of cookies. Including chickpeas in your routine hence opens the doors to wellness, and this is because of the nutrients it comes with.

Chickpeas are quite low in glycemic content and provide a combination of protein and fiber which reduces the absorption of carbs as well as maintains the blood sugar levels. As they are rich in good fiber, they also fill your gut with good bacteria which is much helpful for your digestive system.

Still, thinking why you should start loving chickpeas? Let’s turn to its nutrients and health benefits to get the answer.

What are the health benefits of chickpeas?

As mentioned above, chickpeas are rich in nutrients like protein and fiber. But apart from these two, chickpeas are also filled with other essential nutrients like Vitamin B6, sodium, sugars, folate, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, selenium, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. which makes it one of the vital ingredients to add to your meals. As the chickpeas are filled with all these nutrients, here is the list of health benefits it serves with.

1. Reduces your calorie intake

Chickpeas are rich in fiber and protein, and both of the nutrients are capable of keeping you full for long hours. The nutrients synergistically reduce your digestion which keeps your stomach full and promotes fullness. When you are full, you are likely to avoid any mid snacks, and in this way, you can reduce the calorie intake. Hence, if you are looking for controlling your appetite, having chickpeas in your meals would be a good way, to begin with.

2. The best source of Protein

Chickpea is an amazing source of plant-based protein. This makes it the best ingredient for people who avoid eating animal products. The protein obtained from the chickpeas is much helpful for the people looking to reduce weight, maintain the strength of the muscles, and increase bone health. As the chickpeas also contain particular amino acids, they are better compared to other legumes. So, if you are not having any animal products in your meals, look to add chickpeas for sure.

3. Promotes your heart health

Do you know, merely having a half cup of chickpeas would provide you around 16% of your fiber requirements for a daily basis! Yes, one-third of the chickpea is filled with soluble fiber which is much helpful for the health of the heart. The chickpeas help you maintain the weight and in return keeps your heart safe from the risks of various heart diseases. Hence, having merely a half cup of chickpeas in your diet daily through a healthy salad would help you keep the heart-healthy.

4. For managing your weight

Are you looking for ingredients that would help you lose some weight? Make sure you add chickpeas on the list. Chickpeas contain various properties that help in managing as well as reducing weight. Chickpeas are quite low when it comes to calories. Hence, it helps in the management of weight for those looking for weight reduction. Again, as per a study, the people who consumed chickpeas are less likely by around 53% to suffer from obesity and have reduced body mass index as well as weight circumference. So, if you are looking for weight management or even weight reduction, chickpea is something you must not miss out on.

5. For the prevention of particular cancers

Chickpeas are filled with various compounds and nutrients which are helpful in the protection against particular cancers. The fiber and butyrate provided by chickpeas help in the protection against colorectal cancer, saponins are helpful for the protection against various types of cancers, and Vitamin B is helpful for the prevention against lung and breast cancers. So, if you are having chickpeas in your meals, you are surely helping your body from various types of cancers.

6. Regulation of Blood Sugar Levels

Surprisingly, chickpeas are filled with various properties that are helpful in the management of the blood sugar levels. They come with a low glycemic index or say GI which helps in marking the blood sugar increases after having meals. This in return promotes the management of blood sugar levels. The fiber obtained from the chickpeas with protein and fiber which reduces the absorption of carbs. Also, the ingredients that are rich in protein help in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels particularly for the patients suffering from diabetes type-2. Hence, having chickpeas not only helps in regulating the blood sugar levels but also reduces the risks of developing heart issues and diabetes too.

7. For a healthy digestive system

Want to keep your digestive system healthy? Start with chickpeas in your meals. Chickpeas are filled with fiber which is much essential for a healthy digestive system. The fiber obtained from chickpeas is mostly soluble fibers. The soluble fiber easily gets blended with water and gets transformed into a substance that is similar to gel in the digestive system. As it makes your gut healthy, it also prevents the growth of bacteria that are unhealthy. This reduces the chances of suffering from any digestive issues like colon cancer and irritable bowel syndrome. So, if you are looking to improve the digestive system, start having chickpeas.

8. For managing diabetes

To your surprise, chickpeas are much helpful in the prevention against diabetes or blood sugar control and manage it too. Chickpeas contain protein and fiber that are quite essential for managing blood sugar levels. They help in reducing the pressure levels instantly after having them which is much essential for the management of diabetes. The reduced glycemic index the chickpeas are filled with making them the best for the patients suffering from diabetes as well as the people whose blood sugar level is supposed to increase anytime. They also contain Vitamin B, Zinc, magnesium, and various other minerals and vitamins that are helpful in reducing type 2 diabetes.

9. For a healthy liver and nervous system

Chickpeas are rich in nutrients like folate and various Vitamins. This makes it a good ingredient for the development of the muscles as well as for the brain. The chickpeas help the brain and muscle in soothing their functions along with the nervous system. The ingredient is also helpful in boosting the metabolism of the fat that is stored in the liver and makes the functioning of this organ smooth. Hence, including some chickpeas in your routine can help in boosting the health of your nervous system as well as the liver too. Again, the chickpeas also contain choline which is much helpful for controlling muscle, enhancing mood, making memory sharp, and effective learning.

10. Fight against Anemia

Iron is essential for the body as with its help the body delivers oxygen to the body cells. And when the body lacks required iron levels, the deficiency is termed as anemia. To your surprise, chickpeas are helpful in dealing with anemia. Having around one cup of chickpeas daily provides you with sufficient iron levels that an individual requires daily. It also contains Vitamin C that helps the body in the absorption of iron. So, have some chickpeas to provide your body with sufficient iron levels and prevent anemia and fight against it too.

Chickpeas, hence with the variety of nutrients along with fiber in them help in promoting a good and healthy digestive system, as well as it is good for your heart, lungs, brain, and other essential organs. It helps the body with good bacteria that are essential for digestive health.

When should you avoid having chickpeas?

Chickpeas are generally recommended for everyone, however, there are two particular health conditions when one should avoid the chickpeas. Let’s learn about it.

1. Saponins can be dangerous

Saponins are among the chemical compounds that are naturally obtained from the legumes. The saponins form a liquid-like texture from the canned chickpeas which is known as aquafaba. This foam is also obtained in the ordinary cleaning products like the toothpaste or even liquid soap. The saponins have various health benefits along with anti-cancer properties. They also come with a positive impact on diabetes and obesity. However, it comes with particular risks also. There are some plants containing saponins which can result in an upset stomach or even diarrhea. Still, there are further studies going on this concept.

2. BPA

Also termed as Bisphenol A, BPA is one of the industrial chemicals which is obtained in the coating of various food cans including chickpeas. If this content is low in the canned food, it is surely not harmful, but if it’s in excess quantity, it can lead to issues like infertility in both female and male, issues in brain development in childhood, behavior issues in case of children, prostate cancer, breast cancer, metabolic issues like polycystic ovary syndrome, high BP, etc. So, if you are considering canned chickpeas, make sure you look for BPA-free chickpeas and wash them well before using them through running water.

Hence, these are the two conditions one should avoid the chickpeas, particularly the canned chickpeas for having good health and avoiding possible risks.

Tips for Eating chickpeas

  • Make a protein-rich salad including tossed chickpeas, legumes, beans, lentils, and various veggies.
  • Sprinkle some roasted or canned chickpeas in the salad for obtaining a nutty flavor and unique texture.
  • Adding chickpea flour to various baking recipes that would add minerals, vitamins, protein, and fiber to your baking dish.
  • Blend chickpeas with garlic, olive oil, tahini and lemon juice for making a delicious hummus in the form of spread or dip.
  • Add some chickpeas to the vegetable stew or soup for adding nutrients to the meal and serve it with whole-grain rice for a complete meal full of protein.
  • Add chickpeas to stews and soups as a supplement to meat.
  • Mix chickpeas with a particular spice for making a delicious snack.
  • Mash the chickpeas with garlic, cumin, coriander, and chili, for making falafel that is deep-fried and made crispy.

Bottom Line

Chickpeas are among the easily available and inexpensive ingredients you can add to your meals for a healthy diet. They are the best sources for protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins which help with possible health benefits and help in the management of blood sugar levels and weight too. As they are easily available in the grocery stores, you can include it in different ways to your meals like salads, hummus, and other vegan meals to help your body function properly.

So, how are you going to add chickpeas to your meals? Let us know about your favorite dish that includes chickpeas for experimenting with new dishes made from it.

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