While legumes have been around for thousands of years, it seems like it’s been only recently that people have discovered just how good they can be for your overall health. Among the more popular legumes is the chickpea, which has also been called the garbanzo bean in certain parts of the world. Typically, chickpeas are boiled and then simmered, often used in a combination with other foods such as hummus.
On their own, though, chickpeas pack quite the nutritious punch and make for a perfect addition to an overall healthy diet. You can even have them as a snack, as some people tend to eat chickpeas like popcorn. No matter how you’re eating chickpeas, you’re doing yourself a huge favor by getting them into your eating plan. To prove it, we’ll take a look at the nutritional breakdown and the great health benefits that you’ll get from eating chickpeas.
Nutrition of Chickpeas
In one serving of chickpeas at 100 grams (which is about 3.5 ounces) boiled and without salt, you’re going to get about 160 calories. Those aren’t wasted calories, either, as there’s a ton of nutrition in each serving. For starters, you’ll be getting nearly 20 percent of your daily recommendation for protein and one-third of your daily fiber recommendation. Out of the vitamins, folate is the big one with nearly half of your daily value. Others that come in around five to 10 percent include vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid.
There are some abundant minerals in chickpeas, as well, with manganese leading the way at more than half of your daily intake. Between 10 and 20 percent daily value, you’ll find iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. Calcium, potassium and selenium are also found in each serving, with no cholesterol, 2.6 grams of fat and very little sugar, making this a good all around food to eat.
Good For the Heart
As we pointed out in the nutritional value of chickpeas, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of folate. This is a nutrient that can be hard to get in certain foods, so you might not be getting enough in your diet. Folate is very beneficial for your heart health, as it helps to control your homocysteine levels. When you do this, you greatly decrease your chances of heart disease, as well as heart attack and stroke.
Chickpeas are also linked to lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels when getting enough folate in your system, which is also because of homocysteine levels. Furthermore, chickpeas contain plenty of fiber, which has been shown to greatly increase your heart’s overall health. With no unhealthy fats to be found, your heart will be working more efficiently and getting a boost from the helpful omega-3 fatty acids.
Chickpeas have been a staple of vegetarian diets, especially for those that don’t want to lose weight. Since they can be a great snack while also being part of a meal, chickpeas are versatile for a weight loss plan as they don’t contain many calories and provide plenty of nutrients. One of the nutrients is protein, which can be hard to come by if you don’t eat much meat on a weekly basis.
This protein will help to build and repair muscles (especially if you workout consistently) and burn more calories and fat throughout the day. The high amount of fiber will also have you feeling full, as the feeling of hunger can quickly derail any diet. You’ll even see a nice little energy boost from eating chickpeas which can help you get away from the couch or office desk and out for some exercise to further your weight loss.
Many people struggle to avoid problems with blood sugar levels, which can lead to diabetes. With the common diet these days containing a lot of sugar and processed foods and people having a family history of issues, diabetes has become more common. Eating more foods like chickpeas help people avoid getting diabetes since there’s plenty of soluble fiber and the carbs won’t cause crashes or spikes in your blood sugar.
For people that already have diabetes, chickpeas can help reverse the effects of the disease by balancing out your blood sugar. The carbs you find in chickpeas are complex carbohydrates, which you give you sustained insulin and glucose levels that can be hard to come by in certain types of foods. With the added bonus of weight management, you’re less likely to get diabetes when eating chickpeas.
Easy to Digest
We’ve seen a huge surge in health professionals telling us all that we need to get more fiber into our diets. Fiber is a huge tool in building your digestive health by making it work more efficiently and keeping away harmful bacteria that could cause damage. In the short term, adding more fiber to your diet will allow for more regularity while avoiding problems such as diarrhea, constipation and more.
In the long run, fiber helps your organs to function more efficiently and avoid certain forms of cancer, with colon cancer being the most affected. If you’re trying to cleanse your system after a spell of bad diets, chickpeas make for a great way of doing that as you can flush the toxins out of your system. Overall, you’ll just feel better, too, and that’s going to be important for your wellbeing.
Good For the Guys
While you typically think of red meat as a “manly” food, it can be doing quite a bit of harm to your health. If you want to get more testosterone flowing in your body, you should be eating more foods like chickpeas. Since they don’t have the saturated fat buildup that can lower testosterone while also bringing magnesium, you can avoid losing testosterone no matter what your age. Studies have shown that men who get enough magnesium in their diet in their 40’s typically have more testosterone than those in their 20’s that don’t get enough magnesium.
Summing it Up
With so much nutrition in each serving without many of the calories that you find in other foods, there has to be a catch with eating chickpeas, right? Unless you’re allergic to legumes, there really isn’t much at all that you have to worry about. One thing that can happen when you eat chickpeas is have a temporary reaction to the increased amount of fiber. When your body is used to not getting enough protein, packing in a lot at once can cause discomfort such as gas and bloating.
This is just your body adjusting to getting the necessary amount of fiber, and is typically a sign of improvement that will go away after a brief period of time. If the pain becomes severe (which is rare), make sure to consult with a doctor. Other than that minor detail, chickpeas make a great addition to any diet if you’re looking to eat healthier on a daily basis. The fact that they also taste good is an added benefit that we can all enjoy!