The chickpeas are known by a variety of different names, such as the garbanzo bean, ceci bean, sanagalu, chana, hummus, and Bengal gram. It is a legume, which is the fruit or seed of a plant from the Fabaceae family. Although widely known as being beige in color, there are other varities that are black, green, red and brown. They are common ingredients in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes and have the taste of a nut and a buttery, starchy texture.
Chickpeas are very rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Soluble fibers capture bile in the digestive tract, which contain cholesterol, and transfers it out of the body. Insoluble fiber increases stool bulk and prevents constipation as well as prevent digestive disorders. These fiber advantages will help with weight loss. Soluble fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar levels. For those who are insulin resistant, those with hypoglycemia or diabetes, chickpeas can help maintain a normal blood sugar as well as provide steady, slow-burning energy.
Chickpeas are very beneficial to the heart. If chickpeas are integrated often in one’s diet, then they can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol. Also, chickpeas contain folate which lower levels of the amino acid and strengthens blood vessels. In studies, chickpeas were found to lower the risk of heart attacks.
The trace mineral manganese is also found in chickpeas. This mineral is essential cofactor for a variety of enzymes that produce energy and antioxidant defenses. They also boost energy by their high iron content. Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to the cells in the body. It is also an important part in enzyme systems of energy production and metabolism. The iron boost is especially important for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women and growing children.
Phytochemicals called saponins are found in chickpeas. These act as antioxidants and are greatly beneficial to women’s health. They can lower the risk of breast cancer, protect against osteoporosis and minimize hot flashes in post-menopausal women.
Chickpeas are also a good source of protein. This could be a good addition to a vegetarian’s diet who does not get protein from meat.
Some people can be allergic to chickpeas. They contain purines which may lead to excess accumulation of uric acid, which can cause gout and kidney stones. Also, those who have a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid eating an excess of chick peas since they contain large amounts of oxalate.
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