What are chickpeas?
Chickpeas are members of a subcategory of legumes. Legumes, which also include beans, lentils and dry peas, are the dried edible seeds of legumes that are low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Higher legumes, such as peanuts and soybeans, are not legumes, nor are fresh peas and beans.
Chickpeas, which originate in the Middle East, are one of the most consumed in the world. There are several dozen different varieties, including the European pale yellow type that is popular in the United States, as well as black, dark brown and reddish chickpeas. You will find chickpeas at the same time as canned and dried beans in the grocery store.
Chickpea plants can be about 60 cm long, with small, springy leaves and white or red-blue flowers. It contains one to three peas, about half an inch in diameter. Garbanzo is the name used for chickpeas in Spanish-speaking countries.
1 cup of cooked chickpeas provides 269 calories, 14,5 grams of protein, 4,25 grams of fat and 44,9 grams of carbohydrates, with as much as 12,5 grams from dietary fiber. That is over 44% of the daily recommended fiber intake.
Chickpeas are also filled with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. According to a study, people who regularly consume chickpeas and / or hummus have a higher intake of not only fiber, but also vitamins A, E and C; folate; magnesium; potassium; and iron.
1 cup of cooked portion of chickpeas contains over 80% of the daily value of manganese, a mineral that the body needs to make energy; protect cells; and supports strong bones, blood clots and immunity. The same size also contains a significant part of the daily need for several nutrients: over 70% of the daily need for folic acid, which helps to make DNA; 26% for iron, which helps transport oxygen throughout the body; 20% for magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and muscle and nerve function; 14% for potassium, which is required for blood pressure control, as well as kidney, heart, muscles and nerve function; and 17% for immune-boosting zinc. Chickpeas are also full of antioxidants, which are linked to protection against heart disease, cancer and neurological diseases.
Chickpeas' health benefits
Chickpeas are naturally gluten-free and are not a common cause of allergies or intolerances. They are also incredibly healthy. Consumption of chickpeas and other legumes reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity and increases good intestinal bacteria to support digestive health and anti-inflammation. And compared to non-chickpea / hummus eaters, regular chickpea / hummus consumers are more likely to have lower BMI and waist measurements per government data.
The authors of an Australian study asked 42 volunteers to eat their regular diets, plus about 3,5 grams of chickpeas daily for 12 weeks, and then return to their regular diets for a month. Participants' food diaries revealed that they ate less from each food group, especially cereals, during the chickpea intervention.
Chickpea side effects
Since chickpeas are in the same family as beans, you can expect a similar digestive adaptation. If you buy dry chickpeas, soak them overnight and then discard the soaking water leaking natural compounds into pulses that trigger gas production. For canned chickpeas, rinsing thoroughly after emptying can also help reduce bloating.
Ways to enjoy chickpeas
Chickpeas are one of the most versatile foods. At breakfast you can mix them into smoothies and mash them slightly to make vegetables, herbs and chickpeas. Oven-roasted chickpeas as a snack or addition to a garden salad are also recommended. And chickpeas provide a source of plant protein in everything from soups and bowls to french fries, curries, stews, tacos, chilled protein salads (instead of chicken or tuna), falafel, veggie burgers and of course hummus.
Chickpeas also make a great addition to desserts. They can be used for cake dough, blondes, brownies, dark chocolate truffles and bark, fudge, pudding, dessert hummus and more.
Aquafaba, the liquid in canned chickpeas or the water used to cook dried chickpeas, has become popular. It can be used as a vegan alternative to dairy and eggs to make meringue, mayonnaise and even vegan ice cream or chocolate mousse. There is also a large selection of chickpea products on the market today, including chickpea protein powder, flour, butter / cold cuts, pasta, puffed snacks, granola and cereals.
There are many benefits to eating more chickpeas, and the downside of gas / bloating can be improved by consuming them more often. The recommendation is to include half a cup daily, either as a protein in a meal or as a high-fiber carbohydrate source. You can certainly eat more than this amount, but it may be best to work up to larger amounts to give your digestive system time to adjust. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to help your body handle the fiber chickpeas.