Cultivated for as many as 7500 years, chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a staple in Mediterranean diets. In the past few decades they have become widely known in North Americans’ diets, invading 17% of kitchens.
Chickpeas are prized for their high protein content, having nearly 9% protein. They are good sources of calcium, zinc, magnesium, and several B vitamins. In fact a 100 gram serving contains 43% of the RDA of folate, a precursor to folic acid, vital for many functions, including fetal development.
Chickpeas can be cooked and eaten cold in salads, ground into flour, cooked in stews, ground, formed into balls and deep fried as falafel. Chickpeas are prevalent in Indian cuisine where the leaves are also eaten as green salads.
Hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas, which are cooked, ground and mixed with tahini (ground sesame seeds) to form hummus, the dip/spread. Chickpeas are also roasted, spiced and eaten as snacks. Some varieties can even be popped like popcorn.
Chickpeas are high in fibre, low in fat and have very little taste of their own, making them ideal for “carrying” other flavours. Their high protein content makes them ideal for vegans, vegetarians, and even omnivores.
Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which provide fuel to the cells that line the intestinal wall.
Chickpeas contain antioxidants and are known to support the digestive system, reduce cardiovascular risks, regulate blood sugar, (preventing diabetes), and increase satiety and reduce overeating.
In short, finding ways to incorporate chickpeas into your diet is a smart way to bolster your health.
Here is a recipe for Roasted Chickpeas: http://www.steamykitchen.com/10725-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-garbanzo-beans.html
Other chickpea recipes:
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