Health & Wellness

5 Incredible Health Benefits of Chickpeas: Why You Need Them in Your Diet!

It’s no secret that the health benefits of chickpeas are vast. From serving as a great plant-based source of protein and fiber to improving cholesterol levels, chickpeas offer a great nutritional profile that supports your overall health.

But did you know that studies have recently shown that chickpeas can actually help lower the risk of both obesity and high blood sugar by more than 50 percent?!

Given these incredible findings, which only confirm the health benefits of chickpeas, I felt it was time to profile one of my favorite plant-based sources of protein and fiber.

So, let’s jump right in and learn all about chickpeas and their many benefits for your health and wellbeing.

 

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Before we dive into the health benefits of chickpeas, let’s take a moment to learn about what chickpeas are and why they’re so healthy.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are part of the legume family. Legumes are plants known to be rich in protein, fiber, and a myriad of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, and K.

They’re also a great source of folate, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and more. [1] And it’s from the nutritional profile of chickpeas that their many health benefits arise.

Here’s a look at five of the top health benefits of chickpeas.

1. Significantly improves overall diet quality 

One of the most incredible health benefits of chickpeas is that eating them has been shown to significantly improve your overall diet quality. And this is thanks to their rich nutritional profile.

In fact, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), adults who regularly consume chickpeas or hummus have 2.5 times higher intakes of dietary fiber than those who don’t eat them.

Meanwhile, they also consume, on average, 19 percent more vitamin A, 26 percent more vitamin E, 27 percent more vitamin C, 13 percent more folate, 24 percent more magnesium, 13 percent more potassium, and 9 percent more iron.

But that’s not all. Chickpea consumers also had lower intakes of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. [2]

And other studies have confirmed these findings.

In fact, one study confirmed that consuming up to half a cup of pulses (edible legume seeds such as chickpeas) daily also resulted in higher intakes of dietary fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium, and lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat [3].

As you can see, eating chickpeas on a regular basis is a great way to increase your nutrient intake, which improves your overall diet quality. Consider adding a few to your salads or roasting some in the over for a quick grab-and-go snack!

2. Increases fiber intake by 58 percent

One of the major health benefits of chickpeas is simply the amount of fiber they contain. As you know, consuming fiber is known to not only promote digestive health but also support healthy blood sugar levels and more.

According to the NHANES I mentioned above, researchers found that people who regularly ate chickpeas or hummus consumed, on average, an astonishing 58 percent more fiber each day! [4]

In fact, one-half cup of dry chickpeas contains 12.2 grams of fiber, while the same amount of cooked chickpeas contains 7.6 grams and that much hummus contains 6 grams. [5]

Depending on your age, that accounts for up to half of the recommended daily amount for the average person!

3. Reduces risk of obesity by 53%

When it comes to the health benefits of chickpeas, one of the most exciting for many is its impact on healthy weight management.

In fact, the NHANES found that chickpea and hummus consumers were 53 percent less likely to be obese! That’s an astonishing difference. But there’s more…

The survey also found that those who ate chickpeas had a lower average BMI by a solid two points and a smaller average waist circumference by three inches! [6]

To put that in perspective, that’s a difference of three pants sizes!

And another study revealed that consuming an additional 14 grams of fiber per day alone is associated with a 10-percent decrease in calorie consumption and weight loss of four pounds over three and a half months. [7]

So, if you’re looking to drop a few pounds or shed a few inches, or perhaps just maintain your current weight, consider tapping into one of the top health benefits of chickpeas: fighting obesity.

The best part? Because obesity is an inflammatory condition, you’ll also be lowering your risk of other inflammation-mediated diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, which we’ll talk more about next.

4. Improves total and LDL cholesterol levels

Considering the rising rates of heart disease in America today, one of the major health benefits of chickpeas is its ability to improve both total and LDL cholesterol levels.

According to one study, when adults supplemented their diets with chickpeas for a period of at least five weeks, they lowered their total cholesterol levels by 3.9 percent and their LDL cholesterol levels by 4.6 percent. [8]

As you may recall, LDL cholesterol still provides value to your body; you just don’t want to have it in exceedingly high amounts.

So, if you’re at risk of heart disease or just want to improve your diet quality to support heart health in a preventative effort, consider adding chickpeas to your diet on a regular basis.

5. Reduces risk of high blood sugar by 51 percent

Finally, one of the major health benefits of chickpeas is its impact on blood sugar regulation.

Despite the pandemic we’ve been facing, the leading ongoing epidemic in our country is type 2 diabetes, and we can’t afford to forget that.

Couple that with the stress eating that’s been going on for much of 2020, and it’s more important than ever that we keep an eye on our blood sugar levels.

Fortunately, consuming chickpeas on a regular basis has been found to reduce your risk off high blood sugar by 51 percent!

Plus, a 2016 study revealed that post-meal glucose levels were four times lower in people who consumed hummus with white bread than those who consumed white bread alone! [9]

This is likely due to the fiber content of chickpeas, since we know that fiber helps to prevent blood sugar spikes.

So, the next time you’re making yourself a snack, consider including this Easy Homemade Hummus. Or if you’re craving something sweet, try out my Dark Chocolate Dessert Hummus with Hazelnuts.

Remember that there are many ways you can tap into the health benefits of chickpeas, so try a few different recipes and find some that work for you!

 

Health benefits of chickpeas - Dr. Pingel

 

Key Takeaways

  • It’s no secret that the health benefits of chickpeas are vast, largely because they’re rich in protein, fiber, and a myriad of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, and K.
  • Some of the top health benefits of chickpeas include: improving overall diet quality, increasing fiber intake, reducing the risk of obesity, improving cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of high blood sugar.
  • To consume more chickpeas, consider adding them to salads, roasting them in the over for a quick snack, or making hummus.

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