Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans are low in fat, high in protein and very satisfying, so ideal for a vegetarian, vegan, or weight loss diet. They are widely used in Indian and Bangladeshi dishes, and in the same way, chickpeas have been a fundamental ingredient in the traditional diets of the peoples living along the coasts of the Mediterranean. Because of this, perhaps, chickpeas have been considered a “food of the poor” by “modern, developed” city dwellers. However, it is precisely these individuals, menaced by the diseases of civilization (arteriosclerosis, heart attack, stress, etc.), that need a good plate of chickpeas.
The noteworthy therapeutic properties of the chickpea make this humble legume a dietary food ideal for modern men and women. They help reduce cholesterol and avoid constipation while strengthening the nervous system.
Properties and indications of Chickpeas
Additionally, the chickpea is nourishing and balanced as it contains a great deal of energy (364 kcal/100 g). It is a good source of the most important nutrients except vitamin B12 (which is true of all plant-based foods). Even provitamin A and vitamins C and E are present, but only in small amounts.
The remaining nutrients are well represented in the chickpea:
Proteins: Chickpeas provide a significant amount (19.3%), equal or superior to meat and eggs but less than other protein-rich legumes such as soy, lentils, or beans. These are complete proteins that contain all of the amino acids (essential and nonessential) with the exception of the sulfurated amino acid methionine, which is not found in an optimal proportion.
This protein deficiency, which is true of all legumes in general, has been exaggerated by some nutritional specialists. They have not considered that any grain, such as wheat or rice that is eaten with chickpeas more than compensates for its relative lack of methionine. The legume-grain combination produces a protein of excellent biological quality.
Carbohydrates: Chickpeas are very rich in carbohydrates (43.3%), starch being predominant. Starch is transformed slowly to glucose during digestion, but it must be well chewed and salivated.
Fat: Chickpeas are 6.04% fat. This is considerably more than lentils or beans, but less than soy. Most of these fats are polyunsaturated.
Vitamins: B group vitamins are the most abundant in chickpeas. One hundred grams of chickpeas provide 0.477 mg of vitamin B1, which represents a third of the daily need for this vitamin. Chickpeas are also a good source of vitamins B2 and В6. Folates, which are also involved in proper nervous system function and the reduction of heart attack risk, are very abundant: One hundred grams of chickpeas supply almost triple the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of this nutrient.
Minerals: The most noteworthy are iron (6.24 mg/100 g, almost three times that of meat), phosphorous (366 mg /100 g), potassium (875 mg /100 g), magnesium (115 mg/100 g), calcium (105 mg/100 mg), and zinc (3.43 mg/100 g).
Chickpeas health benefits:
Chickpeas are an almost complete food whose nutritional proportions are quite well balanced. For this reason, they can be used as the main dish of a meal, as is the case in a traditional Mediterranean diet. Eating chickpeas regularly is recommended in the following situations:
Increased cholesterol: Chickpeas contain a moderate amount of high-quality (mono and polyunsaturated) fats (6.04%) that aid in lowering blood cholesterol level. Chickpeas fiber also impedes the absorption of cholesterol from other foods in the intestine (chickpeas contain no cholesterol).
Consequently, eating more chickpeas and fewer meat products reduces cholesterol levels and improves arterial health. Finally, eating chickpeas prevents arteriosclerosis in all of its manifestations, including heart attack.
Constipation: The fiber in chickpeas naturally stimulates intestinal peristaltic action thus moving the feces through the lower digestive tract.
Functional disorders of the nervous system due to B vitamin deficiency, such as irritability, nervousness, and lack of concentration. Chickpeas are highly recommended for those suffering from stress or depression.
Pregnancy: For pregnant
Zinc Deficit Some nutrition specialists emphasize the fact that plant-based food can be lacking in zinc. However, 100 g chickpeas contain more zinc (3.43 mg) than the same quantity of meat (2.97 mg). Chickpeas, the same as lentils and soy, are an excellent source of zinc. Although it has been somewhat forgotten today, chickpeas are a perfect choice for this generation. They reduce cholesterol levels, prevent constipation, and strengthen the nervous system thanks to their richness in B group vitamins.
Preparation and Use:
Cooked: This is the most common manner of preparing and eating chickpeas in the West. They can be added to soups and stews. They combine very well with rice dishes.
Oven toasted or fried: When prepared in this way they are somewhat indigestible since a part of the starch becomes resistant to gastric juices.