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Before we jump into these delicious and healthy chickpeas recipes, did you know…

… also called garbanzo beans, are one of the oldest consumed crops in the world and remain one of the most popular today across nearly every continent. Chickpeas have been a part of certain traditional diets for over 7,500 years! A few facts about chickpeas you would like to know:

  1. Ground chickpeas have been used as a coffee substitute since the 18th century and are still commonly used as a caffeine-free alternative today. Widely available, the taste is said to be delicious – why not give it a go!
  2. Pliny the Elder, a philosopher, and author from ancient Rome mentioned chickpeas in his writings. He noted that the legumes were routinely offered to Venus  the Roman Goddess of love, beauty, sex, and fertility.
  3. When we talk about chickpeas, most people think of the circular, light-beige legume we’re used to seeing. However, depending on the breed of chickpea, the colors can vary a lot. Besides the regular beige, there are green, black, brown, red, and pinkish ones as well. All varieties have a similar taste, texture, and nutritional profile.
  4. Chickpeas use little to no fertilizer all while enhancing the soil’s fertility. They also don’t use any agricultural water (since they’re a dryland agricultural crop), and their leaves have a natural insecticide to keep bugs away. They’re pretty much self-dependent plants.

5 Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Increase Satiety and Help with Weight Loss

Chickpeas are high in both protein and fiber, which helps to make you feel full and to curb food cravings and unhealthy snacking. Studies have shown that consuming fiber is correlated with having a lower body weight.

Chickpeas give us a feeling of being full after eating, while also helping to control our blood sugar levels and therefore maintaining our energy.

Improve Digestion

Chickpeas make my list for the Top 10 High Fiber Foods, with roughly 6-7 grams per half-cup serving. 

Fiber facilitates digestion by quickly moving foods through the digestive tract, helping to decrease symptoms of IBS and constipation. Fiber works by drawing fluids from the body and binding them to the bulk of forming stool, which contains toxins and waste that must be removed from the body.

The high amount of fiber in garbanzo beans is responsible for its filling effect and helps to improve digestion, but it does much more than this. Fiber aids in heart health, helps to control blood sugar levels, guards against cancer, heart disease, diverticulosis, kidney stones, PMS, obesity, and more.

Control Blood Sugar Levels

Chickpeas include starch, which is a slow-burning carbohydrate that the body does not react to by suddenly spiking glucose in the blood.

Unlike simple sugars- found in processed products like refined flour, white bread and pasta, soda, candy, and most other packaged foods- the starches found in chickpeas take an extended period of time to break down once consumed.

Starches contain natural sugars called glucose, which the body uses easily for many essential functions. However, glucose can be troublesome for people who are pre-diabetic or who have diabetes. The process of digesting and utilizing the glucose found in all beans and starches is drawn-out, which is extremely important for diabetics who have trouble reaching a stable blood sugar level due to a resistance to insulin.

Protect Against Heart Disease

Chickpeas have been shown to help balance unhealthy cholesterol levels, to reduce hypertension, and to protect against heart disease in multiple ways. Fiber works to create a gel-like substance in the digestive system that binds with fatty acids, helping to balance cholesterol levels. Both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber have been show to be important in helping to control and manage hypertension.

Beans help to keep the arteries clear from plaque build-up, maintain healthy blood pressure levels, and decrease the chances of cardiac arrest and stroke. In fact studies show that having just one daily serving (about 3/4 cup cooked) of beans of any kind can help to decrease chances of a heart attack and to help balance “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Provide Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Chickpeas nutrition boasts high levels of iron, zinc, folate, phosphorus, vitamin K, and B vitamins, all of which are especially important for vegetarians and vegans who may be lacking in these essential nutrients due to avoiding animal products. Chickpeas are great source of folate, also called Vitamin B6. Folate is important for helping the body to effectively produce new cells as it plays a role in copying and synthesizing DNA. A deficiency in folate can contribute to anemia, poor immune function, and poor digestion; and for pregnant women, a deficiency can lead to neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Though phosphate and calcium are both important in bone structure, the careful balance of the two minerals is necessary for proper bone mineralization – consumption of too much phosphorus with too little calcium intake can result in bone loss.

Chickpeas nutrition also includes zinc. Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays a role in over 100 important enzymatic reactions in the body. Zinc facilitates in bodily functions including protecting against free radical damage (also called oxidative damage), helps speed up wound healing, plays a part in the copying of DNA, and helps with the formation of hemoglobin within the blood. A deficiency can include frequently getting sick with colds, leaky gut syndrome, consistent digestive problems like diarrhea, poor eye health, infertility, thinning hair, and even stunted growth in children.

Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good bone health because it improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium, making sure that enough calcium is available for building and repairing bone. Low intake of vitamin K is associated with a higher risk for bone fracture.

Want to cook some chickpeas in all sorts of delicious ways? Roll them in spice for a delicious snack, put them roasted in a salad, use them as a baking ingredient, or eat them in a wrap. Download the recipes!

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