Pass the Power Peas Please!
While the most popular name for this powerful little pea is Chickpeas vs garbanzo beans—call it what you want—they’re a legume that packs a pretty potent protein punch. Chickpeas calories are just 268 for one cup, yet you get 29% of your daily protein and of this nutritious and filling high fiber food.
Chickpeas are high in protein, minerals and fiber and low in fat.
I like to have some on hand to use for a lot of different meals and snacks. My favorite ways to eat chickpeas are on salads for added protein, fiber and flavor, right out of the can, freshly boiled, or roasted in the oven with spices. The most common type of chickpea appears round and beige, but other varieties can be black, green, or red.
Hummus is a popular chickpea snack.
At 15 grams of protein per cooked cup, chickpeas are known for their high protein and fiber content, making them a great source of protein for those focusing on a plant based diet. They also contain important vitamins and minerals known to benefit our health.
Chickpeas contain 84% manganese RDA.
Just one cup of cooked chickpeas contains half of the total daily fiber recommended for women and about one-third of the amount recommended for men, but we’re just getting warmed up.
The Mighty Chickpea
Chickpeas Are Beneficial to:
- Bone health
- Blood Pressure
- Heart Health
- Cancer-fighting / Cancer prevention
- Liver membranes and detoxification
- Weight management / satiety
- Cell membrane structure
- Repairing cell damage
- Neutralizing free radicals
Chickpeas calories is just 268 for one cup of a nutrient dense food.
Chickpeas Nutritional Information per 1 cup serving, cooked chickpeas
- Calories – 268
- Fat 4.2 g – 7% RDA
- Sodium – 11.5 mg
- Potassium – 447 mg
- Carbs – 45 g
- Dietary Fiber – 12.5 g
- Sugars – 7.9 g
- Protein – 14.5 g
- Calcium – 80.4 mg
- Iron 4.7 mg
- Vitamin C 8 mg
Daily RDA for 1 Cup of Chickpeas:
- Calories – 13%
- Carbs – 15% RDA
- Protein – 29%
- Calcium – 8%
- Fiber – 50%
- Folate – 71%
- Iron – 26%
- Magnesium – 20%
- Manganese – 84%
- Phosphorous – 28%
- Potassium – 14%
- Selenium – 9%
- Thiamin – 13%
- Vitamin K – 8%
- Vitamin B6 – 11%
- Zinc – 17%
Bone health… Chickpeas contain calcium, phosphate, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K. These vitamins and minerals all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure.
Blood pressure… Maintaining a low-sodium intake is important for a healthy blood pressure. However, many people do not realize that potassium also plays an important role in keeping blood pressure in a healthy range. Most people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and as a result do not consume enough of many vitamins and minerals including potassium. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily potassium recommendation.
Heart health… The high fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 content, combined with the lack of cholesterol found in chickpeas, all contribute to a healthy heart. The fiber in chickpeas helps decrease the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, as well as the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol). This adds up to lowering your risk of heart disease.
Cancer… Selenium is a mineral that is not found in most fruits and vegetables, but chickpeas have a generous amount. Selenium can affect your liver enzyme production and helps the liver detoxify some cancer causing compounds.
Chickpeas also contain folate, which plays a role in cancer prevention because of its part in DNA synthesis and repair. Folate can help protect our bodies from changes in our DNA that can lead to cancer development.
Antioxidant… Vitamin C, often associated with citrus fruits, a small amount is found in chickpeas. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps neutralize free radicals in our bodies. This helps prevent cell damage and mutations.
Inflammation… Choline is an important nutrient found in chickpeas that helps with many body functions including sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps maintain cell membrane structure, helps with the transmission of nerve impulses, and reduces chronic inflammation.
Digestion … Chickpeas are a great source of fiber containing both soluble and insoluble fiber. Each type works differently to keep our bodies healthy. Soluble fiber works in the digestive tract to move excess cholesterol out of the body and also helps keep blood sugars stable. Insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation by adding bulk and keeping things moving through the digestive track. High fiber diets are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Weight management and satiety…High fiber foods increase satiety and reduce appetite. High fiber foods, like chickpeas, make you feel full for a longer period of time which helps you eat less.
Those chickpeas that we love in salad or as hummus are little powerhouses full of goodness for our bodies.
Chickpeas are one of the most versatile of the beans, and work equally well as a sandwich spread or dip, called hummus, cold as salad toppings, roasted as an appetizer with spices, or ground into flour and used in baking or making chapatis, as is common in India.
Breaking with the Beans
Now that you’re more excited about including chickpeas in your diet, be forewarned. Some people can experience some unpleasant side effects when they start eating legumes. Although the good news is that for most people chickpeas is not typically one of the problem beans.
But in all beans, common side effect is intestinal gas. Beans contain a sugar molecule called oligosaccharides. Our bodies do not have an enzyme to break down these complex sugar molecules so they cannot be digested by the stomach or small intestine. The oligosaccharides get passed into the large intestine where they become food for the countless microbes present there. This process creates different vitamins that our bodies absorb as well producing antibodies that help fight off infections. The downside is that the process causes the release of several types of gases which can lead to the inconvenience of intestinal gas and discomfort.
Draining bean water can reduce the gas effect.
Before you decide to ban chickpeas and other legumes from your diet, there are some things you can do to lessen the gaseous effects. Slowly introduce legumes into your diet and make sure they are well cooked. There is also a product you can purchase that contains the enzyme (alpha-galactosidase) that will break down oligosaccharides. This prevents the bacteria in your large intestinal from creating gas. You can find it at stores under the name Beano.
Another way to decrease this side effect is to drain the water that was used to soak the dried legumes. This removes two oligosaccharides, and will help eliminate some of the uncomfortable digestive issues.
Not Recommended for Those on Beta Blockers
There may be potential health risks of eating chickpeas if you need to take beta-blockers. They are commonly prescribed for heart disease and can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. Chickpeas and other high-potassium foods should be eaten in moderation if you take beta-blockers.
High levels of potassium in the body can also pose a serious risk to those with kidney damage. Kidneys that are not fully functional can’t filter excess potassium from the blood, which could be fatal.
Checkout the Chickpeas!
So if you’re not on beta blockers, be sure to checkout some awesome recipes for chickpeas—there are so many, as they are a versatile legume that work equally well in salads as they do in soups, as hummus dip, and even roasted as a snack.
Hummus is great for spreads, dips, and dressings.
Chickpeas are full of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients to nourish your body and can decrease the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Try some on your salad today!1)http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm?seq_no_115=273548
Article by contributing writer, Carrine Judy
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