Chickpeas offer 4 surprising health benefits

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chickpeas(NaturalHealth365) Nutritionists and natural healers have long held chickpeas in high regard due to their undeniable merit as a superfood. These versatile little legumes not only boast a delicate, nutty flavor and a pleasing consistency, but they are also packed with high-quality plant protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, and beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids.

However, recent studies have revealed that there is much more to chickpeas than their nutritive value.  Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, Egyptian peas, ceci beans and chana, actually combat life-threatening diseases – on four different fronts.  As researchers come forward to credit chickpeas with life-extending effects, they are beginning to better understand the nuts and bolts of how these tasty little morsels work their magic.

Chickpeas can naturally suppress the appetite and help us maintain a healthy body weight

A single cup of garbanzo beans contains a whopping 12 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein – a combination that slows gastric emptying and helps to create a feeling of fullness. This high content of protein and fiber inhibits the production of ghrelin, a “hunger” hormone that causes increased appetite. And this isn’t all: simultaneously, garbanzo beans promote the release of cholesystokinin, a hormone which promotes a feeling of fullness – allowing them to control appetite and deliver a real one-two punch against food cravings and overeating.

Clinical studies have supported chickpeas’ appetite-suppressant effects.  In one 20-week study, participants were told to eat their normal diet, without making any particular attempt to modify their choices or cut calories. For 12 weeks during the study, the volunteers were told to add garbanzo beans to their diet. Amazingly, during the garbanzo bean phase, participants not only reduced caloric intake, but also instinctively chose to eat smaller amounts of salt and sugar-laden processed foods.

A delicious way to avoid heart disease

Chickpeas significantly reduce levels of LDL, or low-density lipoproteins, in the bloodstream; LDL cholesterol is a major culprit when it comes to the formation of the plaque that narrows arteries and leads to atherosclerosis. Chickpeas work against LDL in two different ways: by lowering the amount of circulating LDL in your blood, and by slowing the rate of disease-causing LDL oxidation.

In addition, chickpeas are high in folate, a B-vitamin which combats homocysteine, an amino acid that has been associated with inflammation and increased heart attack risk.  Finally, chickpeas are rich in manganese and magnesium, both of which support healthy blood pressure – a definite boon to your heart.

Looking for a natural way to stabilize blood sugar and prevent type 2 diabetes?

Chickpeas have the ability to improve blood sugar levels both immediately and long-term – if consumed regularly. Thanks to their very low glycemic index, chickpeas help prevent dangerous blood sugar surges, thus helping to ward off diabetes. In fact, the glucose response of chickpeas is only 45 percent that of cereal and pasta.

Chickpeas are rich in natural sugars and starch – two substances many people have been conditioned to think of as “bad.” However, researchers have found that amylase – the starch found in chickpeas – reduces blood sugar and insulin levels in diabetics and non-diabetics alike.  And, raffinose found in chickpeas – a combination of galactose, fructose and glucose – encourages the development of healthy gut flora.

What type of chickpeas provide the most benefits?

When it comes to disease prevention, organic dried chickpeas are your best bet. The small, dark “desi”-type beans are even richer in antioxidants than the more common cream-colored “kabuli” beans, but both types provide a wealth of health benefits.

To prepare dried chickpeas, simply soak them overnight, discard the water, add fresh water and simmer them – along with fresh garlic or onion – for about 90 minutes, or until tender. If you crave more crunch, try roasting your chickpeas before cooking them.

The delicate flavor of chickpeas allows them to blend well with practically everything. Sprinkle them in salads, soups or your favorite entree. Of course, you can also make hummus – since chickpeas are the primary ingredient of this Mediterranean delight.


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  • Britany

    Hummus is a staple in our family. We make our own and flavor it differently each time. From using black olives, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, garlic, pimentos and other herbs we have one of the tastiest lunches.

  • Melissa Evans

    Dried chick peas are well worth the effort to obtain an inexpensive and healthy meal. We love chick pea soup and have it often in the winter months.

    I didn’t know there are different kinds. Many times I buy the smaller darker garbanzo beans. The one thing I look for is organic beans.

  • Gracie Wilford

    We roast chick peas for a snack. It beats chips, nuts and pretzels. This is something my whole family enjoys.

  • Jill Tobin

    The savvy cook will use the dried beans and not the canned kind. Health wise and expense wise it is the best way. The cans are usually lined and organic canned garbanzo beans are hard to find.

    • Adriane Peterson

      Trader Joe’s carries organic canned garbanzo, kidney, and black beans. But I do love the taste of home cooked ones. 🙂

      • Lee

        Adriane, Jill Tobin mentioned that the cans are usually lined. I think what she was referring to was BPA-plastic lining. This lining is why I do not purchase Trader Joe’s canned foods.

        One company I am aware of which does not feature BPA can lining is Eden Foods. I’d been purchasing their canned garbonzo beans for the convenience. However, since this article recommends organic dried beans, perhaps I’ll make the switch. It’s just a little extra effort to simmer them at home, and is likely less expensive.

  • Nobody

    All cooked food is toxic.

    Humans are fruit eaters.

    Read this book: com/80-10-Diet/dp/1893831248

    • Jon Taylor

      There was no fruit the way we have come to know it. The fruit plants were full of seeds and so fibrous as to be eaten for survival not as an enjoyable sweet treat.

  • BeaDandelion

    I love these!!!
    And Quinoa. I could live off those 2 foods.

  • John

    I make a killer garbanzo s soup that is a gourmet recipe from a famous Cuban restaurant. It requires you have a good source of grass fed beef & pork to make it incredibly nutritious.

  • Sue Martin

    Chickpeas are a staple of our families vegetarian diet. It is so versatile, I can use it in so many dishes.

  • Cheryl DeNeve

    I cook mine in the crock pot — no overnight soaking required. One lb. of chickpeas, 7 cups of water, and 1/4 tsp of baking soda. Four hours on high and they’re done. Easy!

  • Darcy Grant

    Chickpeas is one of the most used beans. It is the most versatile and makes a very economical meal. I use it so often in salads, hummus and in soups. Chickpea burgers are so good we use them with a homemade dressing.
    It is great on the budget.