Chickpeas are available all over the world. They belong to the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The use of chickpeas can be dated back to the ancient periods. Even in countries like ancient India and ancient Egypt, it is a part of regular cuisine.
What Is Chickpeas?
Chickpeas more commonly known as garbanzo beans, are a specific legume variety. These are filled or packed with energizing protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. These are not just nutrient-dense like most of the legume varieties, but they can be included ideally into low-calorie and low-fat health diets as well owing to their lower caloric potential.
According to the nutrition content enlisted by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) approximately one cup or 152 grams (5.36 ounces) contains the following substances:
Fat: 3.8 grams or 0.13 ounces.
Sodium: 322 milligrams or 0.011 ounces.
Carbohydrates: 35 grams or 1.28 ounces.
Fiber: 9.6 grams or 0.338 ounces.
Sugars: 6 grams or 0.211 ounces.
Protein: 10.7 grams or 3.77 ounces.
Vitamin B6: 0.18 milligrams or 0.000016 ounces.
Folate: 62.3 µg or 0.0022 ounces.
Calcium: 65.4 milligrams or 0.065 ounces.
Total Calories: 210 kilocalories.
Vitamin A: 33.4 international unit.
Chickpeas are excellent plant-based protein sources being the ideal legume varieties yielding about 11 grams (0.388 ounces) per single cup serving. Protein from plant sources is equally important in maintaining a healthy immune system as the proteins contribute to the health of the muscles in the body, the hair, skin, and nail tissues as well. Also, they are rich in vitamin A and vitamin B specifically Vitamin B6 as well as folate also contributes to overall immunity.
What Are the Health Benefits of Chickpeas?
The health benefits of chickpeas are:
A. Chickpeas are known to contain anti-cancer compounds such as butyrate and saponin. These substances are present in high amounts. Nutrition research suggests that these compounds would be beneficial in protecting individuals against the risk of developing breast, skin, and colorectal cancers.
B. The resistant starch in garbanzo beans or chickpeas is ideal for promoting digestive and bowel health. The amount of healthy gut and digestive flora would be improved by consuming chickpeas.
C. High fiber-containing foods can make a person feel satisfied. With chickpeas, the additional benefit is that it is very low in caloric food. One can consume it or include it in the daily diet without worrying about consuming extra calories and also feel satiated in a healthy manner. Hence they can be part of healthy weight loss diets, low fat and low calorie diets too.
D. Nutrition research sheds light on the dietary importance of consuming legumes as a part of a balanced diet of which chickpeas are also an integral part. They would potentially have the ability to promote healthy glycemic control by improving insulin sensitivity.
What Are the Possible Allergic Reactions?
Chickpeas are also legumes and are similar to other bean varieties, soybeans, and peanuts. Usually, soybeans and peanuts are considered common food allergens and are susceptible or allergic to individuals. Chickpea allergy may also however be possible and usually seen as a cross-reaction in people who demonstrate an allergy to soy, peas, lentils, or hazelnuts.
Like most of the other beans, one may come across any high-fiber foods that may commonly be a source of intestinal symptoms like gas, bloating, or flatulence. Even chickpeas are no exception in causing such effects in individuals not used to eating high-fiber in their regular diets.
However, it is always good to consume foods high in fiber and add such healthy legume fiber to the diet. Over a period of time, this can be helpful in getting accustomed to a high-fiber diet and in preventing gastrointestinal dysfunctions. This can be helpful in individuals who follow a low-FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet to manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, celiac sensitivity, or other digestive conditions and are recommended to avoid chickpeas.
What Are the Varieties of Chickpeas?
There are two varieties of chickpeas available globally one is the blond variety. This is sold mostly in the Middle East and North American continents. The other one is black chickpeas or the local chickpea. These varieties are available in India, Pakistan, and Ethiopia.
One can also purchase chickpea flour (called besan in India ), commonly and in fact most often used in Indian curries as a thickening agent. This type of chickpea flour has only half the carbohydrates of wheat flour and is additionally fiber-rich and gluten-free. Thus this can be suitable even for individuals having gluten sensitivity or allergies.
Chana in India is also known as the split kernel of the desi Bengal gram. This is also a local chickpea variety. The split kernel of the chickpeas yields a rather sweet and earthy flavor. After cooking it, one can see they are exactly around the size and shape similar to that of a corn kernel. In India, it is quite commonly used in making dal just like other legumes. It marks the culinary foundation or specialty of Indian cuisine.
Chickpeas are also available in both dried as well as canned forms. While the canned products would be deemed convenient to purchase. It contains a high amount of sodium content. Persons suffering from hypertension should be cautious about using such products.
How to Consume Chickpeas?
One can easily add chickpeas to dishes like salads, soups, stews, chilis, casseroles, or grain dishes. One can pair these legumes with other light or dark healthy greens or puree them up with tahini which is popularly known as the hummus dip (a Middle Eastern delicacy). Hummus is made up of chickpea as the primary ingredient and as a vegetable dip for a protein and fiber-full snack. This can be swapped any day over other high-fat condiments if one is looking forward to reducing daily fat intake. Even while making tuna or chicken salad, one can opt for the hummus dip or the chickpea add-ons.
Chickpeas though popular in the form of different preparations globally like hummus and chickpea noodles. In India falafel. still yields the nutritional benefits of these legumes and not much alteration can be observed in terms of nutrition content unless extra sodium or added sugars are into these preparations. However, it is to be noted that the added ingredients in commercial preparations of chickpea base may increase the amount of fat, sodium, and calories in the intake. So always verify and read the nutritional facts on the ingredient label of each preparation.
Chickpeas are ideal plant-based proteinaceous legume varieties. It is loaded with fiber, protein multivitamins, and minerals. One can swap the high-fat, high-calorie foods for a serving of chickpeas. It is a good option for a low-fat and low-calorie diet. This is beneficial in sustaining a healthy lifestyle or promoting healthy weight loss.