HomeHealthWhat are chickpeas? Health Benefits of chickpeas

What are chickpeas? Health Benefits of chickpeas

Chickpeas belong to the family of Fabaceae and are an annual legume that is the
oldest cultivated peas in history. They are best known for their high protein
content, which makes them the most demanded peas among vegetarians. There are
2 main types of chickpeas are consumed and found around the globe.

  • One is Kabuli chana, light in color and bigger in size
  • Another is desi chana, dark in color and smaller in size

But the dark peas possess 75% of the world’s chickpea population. These are
grown most commonly in India and Middle Eastern countries. Due to its nutritional
content, it’s one of the most loved and included ingredients in salads, stews,
curries, and soups. In Indian cuisine, it is loved and known to prepare famous
chana masala.

Now let us take a look at the nutritional content of chickpeas that makes them so
vulnerable among seeds. The following data is about 100gm of raw and mature
chickpea seeds.

  • Energy content: 1581KJ
  • Carbohydrates: 62.95g
  • Sugar: 10.7g
  • Dietary fibre: 12.2g
  • Fat: 6.04g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Water: 60.21g

So, from the overall collected data, the cooked chickpeas possess 60% water, 27%
carbohydrates, 3%fats, and 9% proteins. Besides, a variety of vitamins and minerals
are found in them, which enhances their nutritional content like:

  • Minerals: (iron, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, etc)
  • Vitamins: (B1, B2, C, K, E, B12, B6, B9, B3, B5, etc)

All of this content provides it with all the health benefits it possesses.

Now let us look at some of the health benefits of chickpeas:

  1. Controls blood sugar: Chickpea belongs to the group of low GI foods
    which are known to manage blood sugar levels by not spiking the blood
    sugar suddenly after eating. Also, it possesses a good amount of fiber and
    protein that helps in regulating blood sugar as fibers lower the absorption of
    carbohydrates from the food.
  2. Promotes digestion: Chickpeas are rich in water-soluble fibers that turn into
    a gel in the digestive tract that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the
    gut. This, as a result, promotes the health of the digestive system and
    promotes digestion.
  3. Keeps heart healthy: The rich source of minerals like magnesium and
    potassium in chickpeas helps to boost heart health by preventing the risk of
    high blood pressure. Also, the fiber present in chickpeas helps to reduce the
    triglyceride levels in the blood. Thus promoting a healthy heart.
  4. Strengthens bones: Chickpeas are rich in calcium and magnesium content
    along with fibers which help to promote the strength of the bones.
  5. Enhances memory: Chickpeas possess an element known as choline which
    is a nutrient that helps in the formation and release of brain-friendly
    chemicals that promote memory, mood, and muscle control overall
    enhancing the nervous system’s activity.
  6. Boosts hemoglobin levels: Due to the rich content of nutrients and minerals like
    iron, calcium, folate, and vitamin A, C, and E, chickpeas are considered to
    contribute to enhancing the absorption of iron thus helping in coping with
    the problem of anemia.

Some questions on the ways to consume chickpeas:

Q. What is the effect of cooking on chickpea?

A. On cooking chickpeas, the protein and carbohydrate content of the seeds don’t
change. It even enhances the digestibility of its protein, amino acid index, and
protein efficiency ratio. Yet, the amino acids present in cooked chickpeas are less
than in raw ones, still more than the WHO reference. Also, cooking reduces the fat
and mineral content of the seeds.

Q. For enjoying the protein benefits of chickpeas, how should they be consumed?

A. For enhancing the protein absorption of the body, the chickpeas must be eaten
raw after soaking for a considerable amount of time. Soaking leads to germination
which further leads to the degradation of proteins to simpler peptides which
improve the crude protein and fiber content. Thus, overall improves the
digestibility of the chickpea proteins.

Q. Why is cooking chickpeas in the microwave considered a better way?

A. Microwave cooking is considered a better way of cooking chickpeas because it
improves the nutritional values of the seeds and takes less time for cooking. It even
enhances the essential amino acid contents of the peas. Thus, overall leads to
lowering the nutrient loss from the peas.

Q. Can chickpea leaves be eaten?

A. Yes, in many parts of the world the leaves of young chickpeas are consumed as
green leafy vegetables like those of cabbage and spinach. This is due to the higher
mineral content of the leaves than those of other green leafy vegetables. Thus, to
enhance the nutrient content of the diet chickpeas are added to meals.

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