FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Are Chickpeas a Healthy Plant Choice?

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Plant-based diets are one of the more recent recommendations based on the rising popularity of the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH diet, the MIND diet and the traditional diets of the longest living populations showcased in The Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner.

One category of plants known as pulses or legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) have many health benefits and are an excellent way to shift your diet into more of a plant-based mode.

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans were cultivated from a wild plant found in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East as far back in history as circa 5000 B.C.E. Chickpeas, are also grown in California, Montana, North Dakota and other states. Historically, about 70 percent of the chickpea crop in these regions was exported each year,  but that has changed because of the rising domestic demand for hummus.

Chickpeas are named because instead of a smooth surface like most beans, they have a bumpy surface that resembles the beak of a chicken. Chickpeas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, folate, fiber, protein, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc.

One cup (canned, drained) USDA Food Composition Database

210 calories

10.7 g of protein

3.7 g. of fat

34 g. of carbohydrate

9.6 g. of fiber (great source of fiber)

Research suggests the following health benefits from chickpea consumption:

  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Lowers blood glucose
  • Lowers risk of diabetes type 2
  • Helps with weight loss by adding satiety
  • Is a great snack food

Five-Minute Hummus

Ingredients

  1. 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste; optional)
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  7. kosher salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (if using), cumin, and ¾ teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika before serving.
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