Whether you call them garbanzo beans or chickpeas, there is no denying the nutritional impact of this particular legume. Vegetarians have been singing their praises for ages, and even the most vociferous meat-eater won’t turn their back on a good hummus.
Originally a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods, chickpeas are now consumed around the world in several regional cuisines, and their popularity shows no sign of slowing down.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this is their versatility. Much of this can be attributed to their mildness, as chickpeas have a pleasant flavour that is both buttery and nutty, with a creamy, lightly-starchy texture that easily adapts to other ingredients they are paired with. You can throw them into a spicy curry, make them the highlight of an otherwise basic salad, or eat them straight out of the can with a little bit of salt and pepper.
Of the myriad flavour profiles available in Anderssen’s Flaxrolls, chickpeas feature as a main ingredient in a select few of our flaxseed wraps: You will find them in our tangy Curry Chickpea, the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, and the Chickpea Masala Golden Flaxroll. What’s even better, however, is the fact that their benefits can be had no matter what flavour you decide on, since we use chickpea flour in the wraps themselves–it serves as one of the key components, alongside flaxseed and brown rice. Thanks to the myriad whole grains and fibre present in each gluten-free, nutrient-dense wrap, you get the benefit of a complete protein meal (as well as the health benefits of chickpeas) no matter what variety you decide on..
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Apart from their subtle flavour and texture, however, chickpeas are a nutritional powerhouse, also adding to their popularity.
Health Benefits of Chickpeas*
Fibre Advantage and Weight Loss: Like other beans, chickpeas are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that snares bile (which contains cholesterol) and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fibre not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders.
Protein for Vegetarians: Chickpeas are a good source of protein. In fact, each cup of cooked chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein, which is broken down into amino acids by the body. However, they are an incomplete protein, meaning that, when combined with a whole grain such as whole-wheat protein, they provide amount of protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fats.
Manganese for Energy Production: Garbanzos are an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Just one cup of garbanzo beans supplies nearly the entirety of the daily value (84.5%) of this mineral.
Iron Boost: Garbanzos are great for providing energy, thanks to their high iron content. This is particularly important for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women, and growing children. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.
Stabilizing Blood Sugar and Low Glycemic Index (GI): Soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, beans like garbanzos can help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. They have a low GI value of 28 – 32, which means their carbohydrates are broken down and digested slowly. This is helpful for weight loss as it controls appetite.
Heart Healthy: Regular intake of Chickpeas can lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol. Garbanzos contain significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate, incidentally, lowers the levels of the amino acid homocysteine, and strengthens the blood vessels. Studies have found chickpeas lower the risk of heart attack.
For Women: Garbanzo contain phytochemicals called saponins, which can act as antioxidants. It could lower the risk of breast cancer, protect against osteoporosis, and appears to minimize hot flashes in postmenopausal women.
Weight Loss: Due to their high fibre content and low GI, chickpeas are excellent for weight loss plans. Salads containing chickpeas are also undeniably tasty, and can keep you full longer, controlling your appetite and reducing the need to snack or graze.
*Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for self-diagnosis, nor for self-treatment of conditions that should be interpreted and managed by a qualified health care provider.
Sources: naturalfoodbenefits.com; whfoods.com; healthyeating.sfgate.com
This is an edited version originally authored by: N.Bondoreff