Chickpeas have been cultivated for about seven thousand years. Originally from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, they have by now spread all over the world due to their highly nutritious qualities and great flavor, and the diverse ways they can be cooked.
Chickpeas are not only a highly nutrient-dense food, but an incomparable source of vitally important vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. They are also distinguished by their high content of proteins and dietary fiber, which explains their beneficial effect on our health.
Recent studies have shown that a daily intake of a cup of chickpeas (164g) two or three times a week (it’s a minimal dose that can be safely increased) lowers the risk of some health disorders and serious diseases. Here are some of the things chickpeas can do for you:
- Promote better efficiency of the digestive system.
About 70% of the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble and remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of the large intestine. It prevents constipation and eliminates the risk of toxicity as a result of this health disorder.
- Lower the risk of cancer.
Insoluble fiber serves as a prebiotic, being metabolized by certain kinds of bacteria responsible for producing acids that provide fuel to the cells of the intestine. It decreases the risk of colon cancer. Chickpeas contain selenium, which has anti-cancer qualities: it detoxifies certain cancer-causing compounds, prevents inflammation, and, thus, suppresses tumor growth. Vitamin C, which is a strong antioxidant, protects cells against the damage that is caused by free radicals. All these factors lower of the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
They are rich in potassium and vitamins C and B6, which are very important for proper functioning of the heart and blood vessels. High fiber content is helpful for keeping cholesterol levels low. The antioxidant qualities of chickpeas add to these factors, reducing the risk of heart problems.
- Help people with diabetes.
Consumption of high-fiber diets helps lower glucose levels in the blood and regulates the secretion of insulin.
- Help manage weight.
High fiber and protein content makes chickpeas a useful for helping to control weight. Increasing satiety, they reduce appetite and, therefore, lower overall caloric intake.
100 g of chickpeas contain the following amounts of the most important nutrients:
- Dietary fiber – 7.6g (30% RDA)
- Protein – 8.9g
- Vitamin A – 27 IU (1% RDA)
- Vitamin C – 1.3 mg (2% RDA)
- Vitamin E – 0.35mg (2% RDA)
- Calcium – 49mg (5% RDA)
- Iron – 2.89mg (16% RDA)
- Selenium – 3.7mcg (5% RDA)
- Zinc – 1.53mg (8% RDA)
RDA – Required Daily Amount