Nutritional Information for Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a versatile bean used in many unique ways around the world. In India, chickpeas are often made into curries or ground into flour to be used as a savory pancake called Pudla. In the Middle East, chickpeas are made into hummus and are the base of falafel. Chickpeas also have a starring role in many Mediterranean cuisines. While chickpeas are an excellent source of carbohydrates and fiber, they are also a great plant-based protein option. Learning to use chickpeas and chickpea flour you can make swaps for healthy alternatives to many of your favorite dishes. Try mashing chickpeas and using them on a sandwich instead of processed meats; use chickpeas as the base of a veggie burger; or try making a chickpea quiche using chickpea flour.
They are especially high in folate! 1 cup has 282 mcg of folate, which is 71% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), according to Institute of Medicine.
Benefits of Chickpeas
Cancer Prevention Benefits
Enzymes in beans are being researched because of their potential to alter cancer cell growth. In test tube studies, protease inhibitors extracted from chickpeas work against prostate cancer cell growth. They showed the same protection against breast cancer cell growth.
In human studies, those eating more legumes have been found to be at lower risk for cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, kidneys, and throat. Although some studies have not found a direct association with eating beans and reducing prostate cancer, others have found an association when looking at plant-based diets that include beans. Studies show men obtaining more of their protein from plant-based sources have lower risk of prostate cancer. Men with prostate cancer eating more protein from plant sources have a better chance of reducing cancer progression compared with men eating more protein from animal sources. This makes beans a great protein option! Additionally, excess weight is a major risk factor for prostate cancer. Beans are low in fat and high in fiber with an ability to help men lower body weight without even trying to restrict calories.
Men's Health Benefits
Eating more beans may help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Dean Ornish published a landmark study in 1990 showing how a plant-based diet could actually reverse heart disease. In his trial 82% of patients had a regression in artery blockage. He used a low-fat, plant based diet including moderate exercise, smoking cessation, and stress management. Other trials with similar design have showed similar results. It’s becoming widespread knowledge that plant-based diets are perhaps the best kind to help prevent a heart attack.
Beans are a staple in many diets whether it’s plant-based, Mediterranean (chickpeas), Asian (soy), Native American (pinto), or an African diet. As mentioned, beans are great for those who need to lose some weight. Beans, chickpeas, lentils, and split peas are chalk-full of fiber, protein, and antioxidants all of which may play a role in reducing body fat. Beans rank highest among some of the highest quality foods that have been scored for their nutrition, along with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts. “Given the nutrient profile and phytochemical contribution of beans, nutritionists should make a concerted effort to encourage the public to consume more beans in general and more soyfoods in particular.” Mark Messina, PhD expert on bean (mainly soy) and legume research.
Ways to Use Chickpeas
+ Mash chickpeas with spices. Add to whole grain bread with avocado, tomatoes, onions, and spinach.
+ Blend chickpeas with roasted garlic and tahini to make homemade hummus.
+ Add chickpeas to grain salads and green leafy salads for additional protein and fiber.
+ Try using chickpea flour for a Indian pudla or chickpea quiche.
+ Make chickpea curry or homemade falafel.
+ Use chickpeas in some of your favorite desserts! Swap in chickpea flour or mashed chickpeas in brownies, cookies, and bars.
+ Prepare homemade veggie burgers using chickpeas as the base.
+ Roast chickpeas with spices for a crunchy snack or salad topper.
+ Add to soups and stews, such as minestrone.
Resources for Chickpeas
USDA Nutrient Database: Chickpeas
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
“Foods that Fight Cancer” from AICR: Dry Beans and Peas
Nutrition Facts: www.NutritionFacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
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