Chickpeas are part of the legume family. In recent years they have become quite popular, but in the Middle East they have been grown and eaten for thousands of years. The nutty flavor and texture go well with various other types of food and ingredients. Chickpeas are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber and are therefore good for health. They promote digestion, help maintain weight and reduce the risk of various diseases. In addition, they contain a lot of proteins, making them a good substitute for meat in vegetarian and vegan eating patterns. Below you will find 8 scientifically based health benefits of chickpeas and a number of ways you can use them.
1. Packed with nutrients
The nutrient profile of chickpeas is impressive. They contain a modest amount of calories, with 46 calories per serving of 28 grams. About 67% of these calories come from carbohydrates and the rest comes from proteins and a little fat ( 1 ). Chick peas also contain a range of vitamins and minerals and quite a few fibers and proteins. A 28 gram serving of chickpeas contains the following nutrients:
Carbohydrates: 7.7 grams
Fibers: 2 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Folate: 12% of the ADH
Iron: 4% of the ADH
Phosphorus: 5% of the ADH
In short: chickpeas contain a modest amount of calories and different vitamins and minerals. They also form a good source of fiber and proteins.
2. Controlling appetite
The proteins and fibres in chickpeas can ensure that you keep your appetite better under control. Protein and fibre both slow the digestion and contribute to a full feeling. In addition, protein can increase the level of appetite-reducing hormones in the body ( 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ). The filling effect of the proteins and fibers in chickpeas can ensure that you take it over the day and consume fewer calories at meals ( 4 , 6 , 7 ). In one study, the appetite and calorie intake of 12 women were compared who ate two different meals ( 8). At one of the meals they ate 200 grams chickpeas and at the other they ate two slices of white bread. In these women there was a significant reduction in appetite and caloric intake after the chickpea meal, but not after the white bread meal. Another study showed that people who ate 104 grams of chickpeas on average every day for 12 weeks felt fuller and ate less junk food compared to the times they did not eat chickpeas ( 9 ). More research is needed to confirm the role of chickpeas in appetite control, but it is definitely worth adding them to your diet if you want to try out whether it also promotes a fuller feeling.
In short: chickpeas contain a lot of protein and fiber, which makes them good filling. This can ensure that you are less hungry and take fewer calories during meals.
3. Rich in vegetable protein
Chick peas are an excellent source of vegetable protein, making them suitable for people who do not want to eat animal products. A serving of 28 grams contains about 3 grams of protein, which is comparable to the protein content in foods such as black beans and lentils ( 1 ). The proteins in chickpeas can promote the feeling of satisfaction and control the appetite. Protein is also known for its role in weight management, bone health and muscle strength maintenance ( 6 , 10 , 11 , 12). Some studies suggest that the quality of the protein in chickpeas is better than that in other legumes, because they contain almost all essential amino acids except methionine ( 10 ). Therefore they do not form a source of complete proteins. In order to ensure that you get all the amino acids from your diet, it is important to eat chickpeas together with another protein source such as wholegrain cereals, so that you fill the shortage ( 6 ).
In short: chickpeas are an excellent source of protein. This has a range of beneficial health effects, ranging from weight control to bone health. It is a great choice for people who do not eat animal products.
4. Weight control
Chick peas have certain properties that enable you to control your weight better. First, they have a low calorie density. This means that there are few calories in relation to the amount of nutrients ( 6 , 13 ). People who eat a low calorie diet are easier off and therefore better off than those who eat high calorie foods ( 14 , 15 ). Also the proteins and fibers in chickpeas can stimulate weight control because of the appetite-reducing effects and they will also contribute to a decrease in the number of calories in a meal ( 8). According to one study, people who regularly eat chickpeas were 53% less often obese and had a lower BMI and waist circumference than those who did not eat legumes ( 17 ). Although these are promising results, more human research is needed to determine the effects chick peas have on weight management. In any case, it is very healthy to include them in your diet.
In short: chickpeas contain a modest amount of calories and a lot of fiber and protein. These properties all play a role in weight management.
5. Support for blood sugar control
Chick peas have different properties that can help keep your blood sugar level up. First, they have a rather low glycemic index (GI). The GI indicates how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating a food. Diets with a high low GI diet appear to improve control over the blood sugar level ( 16 , 18)). Secondly, chickpeas are a good source of fiber and proteins that are known to play a role in blood sugar regulation. This is because fibers slow down the carbohydrate intake, which causes a quiet increase in blood sugar instead of causing a rapid and large peak. Protein-rich food can also contribute to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in people with diabetes 2 ( 5 , 19 ). One study found that the blood sugar level was 21% lower in 19 people who consumed a meal with 200 grams chickpeas than in those who had been given wholemeal or white bread ( 20). Another 12-week study found that 45 people who ate 728 grams of chickpeas a week showed a marked decrease in fasting insulin levels, which is an important factor in blood sugar control ( 21 ). Indeed, several studies relate chickpea consumption to a lower risk of various diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. These effects are often attributed to their blood sugar lowering effects ( 10 ).
In short: Chickpeas have a low GI and are a great source of fiber and protein; all properties that contribute to a healthy blood sugar level.
6. Improvement of digestion
Chick peas are full of fiber, which is proven to be good for digestion ( 16 ). In chickpeas there are mainly soluble fibers, which means that they mix with water and form a jelly-like substance in the digestive tract. Soluble fibers can increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the intestines and prevent the overgrowth of unfavorable bacteria. This may lead to less risk of a few digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (PDS) and colon cancer ( 5 ). For a study, 42 people ate 104 grams of chickpeas per day for 12 weeks. They reported improvements in bowel function afterwards, such as a more regular bowel movement and softer stools (9 , 16 ). If you want to improve your digestion, the inclusion of more chickpeas in your diet is definitely worth a try.
In short: chickpeas contain a lot of fiber, which improves digestion by contributing to the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines and to an improved discharge of waste from the intestines.
7. Protection against some chronic diseases
Certain properties of chickpeas can contribute to reducing the risk of some chronic diseases.
Chick peas are a good source of various minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, which according to research may promote heart health ( 1 , 22 , 23 ). This is because they can prevent high blood pressure and that is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, the soluble fibers in chickpeas appear to ensure that the values of triglycerides and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol decrease. Increased values can increase the risk of heart disease ( 16 , 24 ). For a 12-week study, 45 people ate 728 grams of chickpeas a week. Their total cholesterol levels decreased by an average of almost 16mg / dL ( 21 ).
Regular chickpeas can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Chickpeas ensure firstly that the body will produce more butyrate, a fatty acid that has been shown to be able to combat inflammation in the large intestine, possibly reducing the risk of colon cancer ( 16 , 25 ). Chickpeas are also a source of saponins, a plant substance that would help prevent the occurrence of certain types of cancer. Saponins have also been studied with respect to their role in inhibiting tumor growth ( 16 , 26 , 27)). Chick peas also contain various vitamins and minerals that can lower the risk of cancer, including B vitamins, which could help reduce the risk of breast and lung cancer ( 28 , 29 , 30 ).
Some properties of chickpeas contribute to better control of the blood sugar level, which can help them to manage diabetes better. The fibers and proteins in chickpeas prevent a rapid peak of blood glucose after eating and that is an important factor in controlling diabetes ( 5 , 10 , 16 , 31 ). In addition, the low GI makes them suitable for people with diabetes; this also means that they will not quickly lead to a blood sugar peak ( 16 , 32 , 33 ). They are also a source of various vitamins and minerals that reduce the risk of diabetes 2, such as magnesium, B vitamins and zinc (1 , 34 , 35 , 36 ).
In short: chickpeas have characteristics that can contribute to the prevention of a number of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
8. Cheap and easy to prepare
Chick peas are very easy to use and affordable. You can get them in most stores, both in pot or tin and dried. Moreover, they are versatile to use in all kinds of dishes. Popular dishes in which they are used are salads, soups or as hummus on bread. They are a main ingredient in hummus. It consists of a mixture of mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is for sale in stores but you can also make it yourself. Another way of preparing is roasting, for a delicious and crispy snack. You can also use them in vegetarian burgers or tacos. Because of the protein content they can be used as a meat substitute.
In short: chickpeas are cheap and they are delicious in all kinds of recipes. They are the main ingredient in hummus and are good to use as a meat substitute because of the protein content.
Chick peas are very healthy. They are full of vitamins, minerals, fibers and proteins. These properties are responsible for the beneficial health effects, ranging from better weight control to blood sugar control. In addition, it is good for your health to regularly eat chickpeas well because they can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They are affordable and well available. You can use them in all kinds of dishes and they can serve as a meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes. In addition, they are just delicious; they are certainly worth it to be included in your diet ( translated with permission ).