Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans are those strange shaped pale yellow beans that are packed with protein and vitamins making them a healthy choice for everyone, especially those on a low carb eating program.These great tasting beans register low on the glycemic index, won’t spike blood sugar levels, are low in carbohydrates and high in fibre.
What can chickpeas do for you?
- Help regulate blood sugar. These beans are perfect for diabetics as they are high in protein and fibre. A cup of chickpeas has 14.5 grams of protein, 45 grams of carbohydrates and 12.5 grams of fibre. They register 28 on the glycemic index scale, this means that these beans can help keep ‘postprandial’ or after dinner blood sugar spikes from occurring. Chickpeas keep your food digestion level even which in turn helps regulate insulin production. Due to their ‘filling’ nature they also help you eat less, which benefits weight loss goals.
- Keep your heart happy. Chickpeas help lower your LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is largely due to their high fibre content, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. They contain over 70 milligrams of Alpha-linoleic acid or ALA, which helps promote healthy blood vessels as well as overall heart health.
- Support your digestive tract. One cup of chickpeas completes 50% of your daily fibre intake. These beans have both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps slow the digestion of sugar and reduces cholesterol. Insoluble fibre helps cleanse the digestive tract and promotes healthy elimination. They also contain short chain fatty acids that energise the cells that build the lining of the colon, keeping it in optimal condition.
- Provide essential vitamins and minerals.Chickpeas contain the minerals: iron, zinc, manganese & potassium. They also contain the following vitamins: B-6, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, Vitamin C, E & A.
How to add chickpeas to your dietChickpeas can be bought dry (uncooked) or canned (cooked); both types have similar nutritional values. Cooked beans can easily be added to salad or soups. Hummus (pureed chickpea) dip is a great way to enjoy these beans.
Easy Hummus Recipe
- 1 can of chickpeas (drained,)
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
- Sea or Himalayan Salt (to taste)
- Tahini Sesame Paste (to taste (optional))
- Blend all ingredients in a blender or liquidiser.
- If hummus is too thick add a bit of the drained juice from the can, or water until desired consistency.
- Drizzle with extra Olive Oil, Sprinkle with Paprika and serve.
- Dried chick peas must be cooked before using.
- To cook: add three cups of water and one cup of chickpeas to a large pot. Simmer until beans are soft, usually 1 to 1 ½ hours. Refrigerate after cooking.