While we’ve looked at a lot of foods that have been around for thousands of years, the history of hummus only dates back to the 1200’s. It was in Egypt back then that hummus became publicly known. Traditionally, hummus is made with mashed chickpeas in combination with lemon juice, salt, olive oil and more. While its popularity in the middle east has been high for centuries, it has recently become a go-to food for many on the other side of the world, especially in the United States.
Out of dips that you normally place on the table, not many are healthy. That’s not the case for hummus, though. The typical ingredients that you find in hummus are incredibly good for you, bringing a lot of tremendous health benefits. While its popularity has grown mostly because of the taste, there are some that stick to hummus because of its health value. Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of hummus and the great health benefits, explaining why you should be joining this hummus craze.
Nutrition of Hummus
In about 3.5 ounces of hummus, you’ll find that there are around 170 calories in each serving. While that might sound significant, it won’t add up to much as long as you’re eating hummus with something healthy and not high calorie chips. Hummus contains nearly 20 percent of your daily recommendation for protein, and a quarter day’s worth of your fiber needs. There are nearly 10 grams of fat in this serving of hummus, but only 1.4 grams of saturated fat.
Hummus does contain some vitamins, with nearly a quarter of your folate recommendation and more than 10 percent of your thiamin and vitamin B6 recommendations. Other vitamins such as vitamin A, riboflavin and niacin can be found in smaller doses. The minerals are where it’s at for hummus, as you get between 10 and 20 percent of your daily iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Copper stands out at a quarter of your daily need, while there is nearly half of your daily manganese. Just to top it all off, there’s no cholesterol in hummus.
Hummus is packed with fiber, giving you nearly 25 percent of your daily needs per serving. Eating more fiber in your diet creates probiotics in your gut that help to eliminate bacteria that could be causing intestinal discomfort and other digestive problems. Fiber has other benefits, as well, including the fact that it will make you feel more full throughout the day. This makes hummus a great snack if you really need to kick a craving.
Fiber has even been shown to help reduce your chances of cancer in the digestive system, especially in the colon. With a healthy digestive system, you’ll also feel better with more energy, giving you a better ability to get through a workout. As an added bonus, you can boost your metabolism with more fiber in your diet.
While you might be eating hummus purely for the taste, the amount of benefits that you’re getting for your heart is a nice bonus. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, and overall you’ll be getting a lot of antioxidants known as isoflavones. This antioxidant has been shown to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. A big part of that is because hummus is very high in protein, but not carbohydrates.
That also helps you to regulate your blood sugar, which is one of the most helpful things that you can do for your heart. Olive oil is another big component of hummus, which has been touted in recent years as an incredibly heart healthy food. Ingredients in hummus are frequently linked with lower cholesterol levels and lower risks of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Not all heart healthy foods taste great, but thankfully that’s not the case for hummus!
As long as you’re not eating too much hummus when you decide to have a snack, you should be able to manage your weight just fine. Hummus can be high in calories, but there are some lighter options that don’t contain that many. You don’t have to eat that much to feel full thanks to the high fiber content, and you get much of the nutrition that you need. The average ounce of hummus contains 50 calories with fiber and protein.
Hummus has been associated with lower body weight, overall, with studies showing that those who have hummus as a snack reduce their chances of becoming obese by more than 50 percent. Even those that eat hummus were shown to have smaller waistlines by a couple of inches, suggesting that the ingredients in hummus are efficient at burning fat in the stubborn area of your waistline.
Hummus contains some important antioxidants that can help you prevent diseases that range from minor to serious. While there’s not much vitamin C that’s often associated with a healthier immune system, there are other nutrients that help prevent diseases. Perhaps the biggest one is folate, and you’ll be getting a huge amount in each serving of hummus. Folate has been linked with eliminating carcinogens from the body, lowering your cancer risk.
We also mentioned earlier how much fiber there is in hummus, and that reduces your chances of intestinal and colon cancers. Other nutrients such as vitamin B6 also help to boost your immune system so that you can keep away annoying illnesses such as the cold or flu. Overall, hummus has more antioxidants than one might think.
One problem that pregnant women might have frequently is anemia thanks to a lack of iron in the blood. The ingredients in hummus contain plenty of the iron you need that can help boost your energy and prevent fatigue. Some of the other nutrients are hugely beneficial for pregnant women, including calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. This helps with a child’s development while helping the mother, and it’s even suggested that hummus is given to babies to help get nutrients in place of certain types of meat.
Summing it Up
So we have seen a ton of great health benefits that you can get from eating hummus, but is there really anything bad that can happen when you add it to your diet? Well, since there are certainly different types of hummus available, the nutrition value might differ from brand to brand. There are some that are certainly higher in calories, so you have to watch how much you’re eating. Then again, that’s true for any brand, and hummus can be addicting and you might not realize how much you’re eating.
Some brands of hummus might also include a lot of extra sodium or oils that you won’t find in others. Too much sodium could lead to heart disease down the line, so always be aware of the nutrition label before buying. These are really the only two things that you have to watch out for when buying or eating hummus. Other than that, you’re good to go and can enjoy this delicious food almost whenever you feel!