Garbanzo beans / Chickpeas
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are part of the legume family.
While they have become more popular recently, chickpeas have been grown in Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years.
Their nutty taste and grainy texture pairs well with several other foods and ingredients.
As a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, chickpeas may offer a variety of health benefits, such as improving digestion, aiding weight management and reducing the risk of several diseases.
Additionally, chickpeas are high in protein and make an excellent replacement for meat in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Chickpeas also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as a decent amount of fibre and protein.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving provides the following nutrients (1):
Carbs: 8 grams
Fibre: 2 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Folate: 12% of the RDI
Iron: 4% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 5% of the RDI
Copper: 5% of the RDI
Manganese: 14% of the RDI
The nutrients in chickpeas may also help prevent a number of health conditions.
One cup of chickpeas, weighing 164 grams (g), provides 12.5 g of fibre.
Fibre may benefit people with diabetes, and the American Diabetes Association recommend chickpeas as a source of dietary fibre.
A 2014 study concluded that eating at least 30 g of fibre per day could help reduce inflammation in people with type 1 diabetes.
A 2018 review of meta-analyses found that a high fibre diet may help lower blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume 25.2–28.0 g of fibre a day, depending on age and sex.
Chickpeas can play a role in a healthful diabetes meal plan. See our 7-day plan here.
The iron, calcium, and other nutrients in chickpeas can all contribute to healthy bone structure and strength. Chickpeas can play a role in the diet of people who want to prevent osteoporosis.
To prevent high blood pressure, experts recommend limiting the intake of added sodium, or salt, and increasing the intake of potassium.
Current guidelines recommend that adults consume at least 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day.
A cup of chickpeas, weighing 164 g, provides 474 mg of potassium.
People who use canned chickpeas should check how much sodium the manufacturers have added. Cooking with dry chickpeas can help limit the amount of salt in a meal.
Adults should keep their sodium intake below 2,300 mg per day, while people aged 51 or over and those with risk factors for cardiovascular disease should consume less than 1,500 mg per day.
The fibre, potassium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium in chickpeas all support heart health.
Fibre helps decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Chickpeas contain no cholesterol.
Here, learn more about foods that support a healthy heart.
Free radicals are toxic substances that accumulate in the body, as a result of metabolism and other factors. As these toxins build up, they can damage cells and lead to a variety of health problems, including cancer.
Antioxidants help the body remove free radicals, and the selenium and beta carotene in chickpeas act as antioxidants.
A cup of chickpeas contains 6.1 micrograms (mcg) of selenium. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) recommends that adults consume 55 mcg of selenium a day. They also note that selenium’s antioxidant activity may help protect the body from cancer.
In addition, there is evidence that fibre, which chickpeas contain, can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
A small 2006 study found that participants had less low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol in their blood when they ate a diet with added chickpeas, compared with a diet with added wheat, for 5 weeks.
The researchers noted that the fibre in chickpeas may be responsible for the reduction in LDL cholesterol.
A cup of chickpeas contains 69.7 mg of choline, which helps with brain and nervous system function. Choline plays a role in mood, muscle control, learning, and memory, as well as the body’s metabolism.
The ODS recommends that adults consume 400–550 mg of choline a day, depending on sex and whether they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Some research suggests that a selenium deficiency may increase the risk of cognitive decline in older people. This would imply that selenium can support cognitive health, including memory and thinking.
Digestion and regularity
Fibre helps keep the digestive tract healthy and promotes regularity. Chickpeas are a good source of fibre.