Chickpeas are a nutty-tasting legume popular in many global cuisines. Whether it appears in a creamy Moroccan hummus, a Spanish soup, or a spicy Indian curry, chickpeas fill you up without taking a toll on your waistline. Here are top health benefits of chickpeas, which are also known as garbanzo beans.
Just 2 cups of chickpeas contain your entire daily value of dietary fiber. Better yet, they pack both soluble and insoluble fiber, the latter of which helps lower LDL cholesterol. One study even found that the chickpeas lowered cholesterol levels even more than other foods with comparable levels of fiber.
Promotes Weight Loss
Anyone who has gone on a diet knows that hunger pangs can weaken even the strongest willpower. The challenge is to lower your caloric intake without walking around with stomach always on your mind. Enter chickpeas. 1 cup contains just 269 calories, but half your daily value of fiber and 30% of your protein, both of which monitor the insulin that causes your body to store fat. So eat a cup of chickpeas for lunch and you will feel full until dinner. That’s why one study found that participants who snacked on chickpeas reported greater levels of satisfaction and ate less snack food in-between meals.
Chickpeas are common in many warm and sunny climates, which is good news for those who eat them. That’s because they act like a natural sunblock, with high levels of a nutrient called manganese. Just one cup of cooked chickpeas contain 85% of your daily value of the mineral, which functions as an antioxidant in skin cells. It also protects against damage from UV light, which decreases rashes.
Folk wisdom suggests you reach for the vitamin C when you feel a cold coming on. Researchers are much more skeptical about the efficacy of fighting the common cold. They, however, almost unanimously endorse zinc. Zinc inhibits replication of rhinoviruses, the bugs responsible for cold. Chickpeas contain up to 23% of your daily zinc, as well as 64% of your daily copper requirements.
Fiber helps keep your digestive system working. It is the part of plants that doesn’t dissolve. That’s why doctors suggest 40% of your diet come from fiber-rich foods, which definitely includes chickpeas.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Unfortunately, more and more people struggle with type 2 diabetes. If you are one of the millions of people across the world who need to regulate blood sugar, incorporate legumes like chickpeas into your diet. Doctors recommend starchy legumes and vegetables for their phytochemicals and fiber. Chickpeas digest slowly without spiking blood sugar and lower hemoglobin A1C levels.
1 cup of garbanzos contains 64% of your daily copper and 26% of your daily iron. These two minerals work together as a super team to keep you energized. Iron needs copper to blend with red blood cells and stave off anemia. Meanwhile, copper transfers energy from cars to cells and keeps you feeling full for longer.
“You can’t get enough protein on a vegetarian diet!” This fiction doesn’t hold ground, as many vegetarian athletes and bodybuilders know. Proteins are made from 20 different amino acids, and its true that not all of them are found in plants. These amino acids provide the building blocks in muscle that allow for contraction. And when your muscle contracts, it grows. 1 cup of chickpeas contains 1/3 of your recommended protein value. So combine them with protein found in nuts, veggies, fish, or animal sources to round out your protein and get strong!
Nervous System Health
The protein in chickpeas also helps with nervous system health. Protein amino acids affect neurotransmitters in the brain and help them function properly.
Important Antioxidant Effects
Chickpeas are an important source of selenium, a mineral that supports liver enzyme function and detoxifies cancer-causing compounds from the body. Chickpeas are also a source of folate, which helps in formation of cancer preventing cells in the body.