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The Many Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus

Chickpeas are known by many names, including garbanzo beans

Chickpeas are known by many names, including garbanzo beans, and have been an important food crop in India and more increasingly, the U.S. The nutrient profile of this important pulse crop includes a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Chickpeas are also full of phytochemicals such as sterols, carotenoids, and isoflavones. This goes for canned chickpeas as well, although they must be rinsed well to avoid too much sodium. Because of these nutrients, the many health benefits of pulses, including chickpeas and the most common recipe made from them, hummus, are their role in reducing chronic diet related diseases: obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

This study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey taken during 2003-2010, focusing on information that showed the dietary intake of both chickpeas and hummus. Some of the researchers’ findings revealed an overall better diet quality of chickpea/hummus consumers because they had lower intakes of added sugars, total fat, and cholesterol. Consumers also had lower body weight, waist circumference, and body mass index. People who ate chickpeas and hummus consumed more of other nutritional foods like whole fruit and vegetables and whole grains, suggesting that they “may have an overall healthier diet than non-consumers.” Another great benefit found was that the carbohydrate of chickpeas is very slowly digested, resulting in less of the starch being absorbed in the small intestine. Findings from this research show that health professionals and nutrition programs should encourage more consumption of pulse crops, including showing people how to make a great batch of hummus.

O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA, Fulgoni III VL. Chickpeas and hummus are associated with better nutrient intake, diet quality, and levels of some cardiovascular risk factors: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2010. J Nutr Food Sci 2014;4(1). 

Summarized by the NDSU Extension Service.

Development of many of the materials on this website was made possible, in part, with funding from the Northern Pulse Growers Association.

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