Chickpeas Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits
Chickpeas also called garbanzo beans or Bengal gram, are legumes that are an excellent source of dietary protein. Chickpeas have some physiological benefits that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. They could potentially be considered a functional food in addition to their accepted role of providing protein and fiber.
There is a growing demand for chickpeas due to their nutritional value. It is the third most important pulse crop in production, next to dry beans and field peas. Chickpeas are an important component of the diets of those who are vegetarian by choice. Chickpeas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein, together constituting about 80 % of the total dry seed mass in comparison with other pulses. Chickpeas are cholesterol free and are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The Nutritional value of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, providing a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, folate, and minerals, such as iron and phosphorus. The thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc contents are moderate.
Raw chickpeas are 7.6% water, 63% carbohydrates, 21% protein, and 6% fat. 75% of the fat content is unsaturated fatty acids, of which linoleic acid comprises 43% of the total fat.
One-half cup of cooked garbanzo beans provides 134.5 calories, 22.5 g carbohydrate, 7.3 g protein, 2.1 g fat, 6.3 g dietary fiber, 22 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 141 mcg folic acid, 238.5 mg potassium, 5.5 mg sodium, 138 mg phosphorus, 40 mg calcium, 2.37 mg iron, 39.5 mg magnesium, 1.25 mg zinc, and 0.84 mg manganese.
Raw Chickpeas Nutrition Facts Label
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein, and protein quality is considered to be better than other pulses. Chickpeas have significant amounts of all the essential amino acids except sulphur-containing amino acids, which can be complemented by adding cereals to the daily diet. The primary storage carbohydrate is starch, which is followed by dietary fiber, oligosaccharides, and simple sugars such as glucose and sucrose. Although lipids are present in low amounts, chickpeas are rich in nutritionally important unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic and oleic acids. -Sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol are important sterols present in chickpea oil. Ca, Mg, P, and, especially, K are also present in chickpea seeds. Chickpeas are a good source of important vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folate, and the vitamin A precursor alpha-carotene. As with other pulses, chickpea seeds also contain anti-nutritional factors which can be reduced or eliminated by different cooking techniques. Chickpea has several potential health benefits, and, in combination with other pulses and cereals, it could have beneficial effects on some of the important human diseases such as CVD, type 2 diabetes, digestive diseases, and some cancers. Overall, chickpeas are an important pulse crop with a diverse array of potential nutritional and health benefits.
Chickpeas are good for gut health and may have anticancer properties. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid produced by eating chickpea fiber. Butyrate has been reported to suppress cell proliferation and induce apoptosis, which may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Butyrate also has anti-inflammatory properties in the gut. Lycopene, an oxygenated carotenoid present in chickpea seeds, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Further, chickpea isoflavone extract specifically inhibited epithelial tumour growth and had no effect on healthy cells.
Because they are such a good source of soluble fiber, garbanzo beans help regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol. In general, increased consumption of soluble fibre from foods results in reduced serum total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol and has an inverse correlation with coronary heart disease mortality. Coupled with its low glycaemic index (GI), chickpea may be useful for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids has been shown to have a beneficial effect on serum lipids, insulin sensitivity, and hemostatic factors, whereby it could be helpful in lowering the risk of coronary heart disease.
Chickpeas are a low-GI food and could be an effective choice in weight-loss programmes. Since chickpeas are considered to be a low-GI food, it may help with weight loss and obesity reduction. Eating foods with a high fiber content helps in reaching satiety faster, and this satiating effect lasts longer as fiber-rich foods require a longer time to chew and digest in the intestinal system. Diets with low-GI foods resulted in reduced insulin levels and higher weight loss compared with those with higher-GI foods. Chickpea supplementation in the diet resulted in increased satiation and fullness and decreased fat accumulation in obese subjects. This aids in improving fat metabolism and could be helpful in correcting obesity-related disorders.
Chickpeas have a higher amount of resistant starch and amylose. Amylose has a higher degree of polymerisation, rendering the starch in chickpea more resistant to digestion in the small intestine, which ultimately results in the lower availability of glucose. The lower bioavailability of glucose results in the slower entry of glucose into the bloodstream, thus reducing the demand for insulin, which results in the lowering of the GI and insulinaemic postprandial response. The lowering of the GI is an important aspect in reducing both the incidence and the severity of type 2 diabetes.
Chickpeas may also help give you a head start on a relaxing night’s sleep. L-glutamic acid is an amino acid found in large quantities in legumes, and it is the most abundant amino acid in chickpeas. L-glutamic acid is the initial substrate of gamma-aminobutyric acid synthesis, with GABA being a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and sleep.
Studies revealed an overall improvement in bowel health accompanied by an increased frequency of defecation, ease of defecation, and softer stool consistency while on a chickpea diet compared with a habitual diet. Dietary fiber promotes laxation and bowel function by aiding in the movement of material through the digestive system.
Chickpeas are part of the Fabaceae family, which also includes fava, kidney, lima, and pinto beans. While high in protein, they are not considered complete because they fall short on methionine and tryptophan. For this reason, it’s recommended to consume legumes combined with whole grains to get that complete protein content.