Chickpeas (also known as Garbanzo beans) are a good source of dietary fiber and these legumes offer a variety of significant health benefits. Along with being a good source of carbohydrate and protein, they also contain healthy unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acids. Alongside this, they are also a good source of important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Al of this means that legumes are packed with many health benefits.
As a powerhouse of nutrients, Chickpeas can provide the following health benefits:
- Supports and Improve Diabetes Symptoms. People who have diabetes may find that because of their low glycemic index (GI) they need foods that release a steady and constant source of energy without increasing blood sugars too much. Foods that have a lower GI are usually associated with lowered rates of heart disease and eating chickpeas regularly has also been found in animal studies, to help with reducing insulin resistance.
- Eases Constipation. As they are high in fiber, anyone who is feeling constipated will benefit from eating more chickpeas as it has a natural laxative effect. It’s important not to suddenly add huge quantities of fiber to the diet, incase of causing gas or bloating. It’s important to take slow and steady steps to increase the fiber intake gradually.
- Supports Weight Loss. As they’re rich in protein, chickpeas and pulses can help you to feel fuller for longer. Eating chickpeas have been shown to help prevent hunger and one study found that when participants ate 3/4 cup of pulses a day for six weeks, on average they lost 3-4 pounds on average even without making any other dietary changes.
- Balances Hormones. Chickpeas are a good source of isoflavones which have an effect similar to those of the female hormone estrogen. Research has shown that menopausal women who added chickpeas to their diet over a period of 8 weeks found their symptoms such as anxiety, constipation and hot flashes were reduced significantly. Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) has been highly recommended for treating menopausal symptoms in women, but what if those who felt uncomfortable with artificial hormonal therapy ate more chickpeas instead? They might help to naturally prevent many of these unwanted symptoms.
- Protects against Cancer. Some research has shown that chickpeas can provide protection against colon cancer. As they are rich in resistant starch, it means they aren’t so readily digested in the small intestine. The bacteria in the colon then use it to produce short-chain fatty acids and these can seem to protect colon cells. One study from Bingham et al also found that how much fiber you take in through foods is in direct proportion to your chances of getting a large bowel cancer. While people who low dietary intake may in fact be able to reduce colorectal cancer by 40% simply from eating more dietary fiber.
- Helps Heart Health. A diet rich in chickpeas and other pulses has been found to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” according to research. This also includes total cholesterol without affecting levels of HDL or “good cholesterol”. Soluble fiber found in chickpeas has been known to bind to cholesterol within the digestive system, enabling it to be removed. The soluble fiber can also prevent clogging in arteries and therefore lowers the risk of getting heart disease.
Wondering how to get more legumes into your life? Or maybe you’re feeling bored of what’s currently available and you want to expand your tastebuds without taking the time to prepare lentils every day.