Chickpeas are one of the oldest cultivated legumes on the planet – the first consumption recorded can be traced back to around 8000BC. Chickpeas come in different names such as garbanzo (garbanzo bean), gram (Bengal gram), and Egyptian pea. They are believed to be the earliest legumes to be cultivated and are known as healthy vegetarian food with high content of good and inexpensive plant-based protein along with fibres and micronutrients – that’s why the modern medicine higly recommends the use of chickpeas for weight loss and diet.
Chickpeas originate from the areas somewhere between Turkey and Iran where till now most people rely on this legume. This ancient crop was traditionally incorporated into cuisines of ancient Greeks, Egyptians and the Romans but today it is significantly consumed by the Indians, Mexicans and Ethiopians.
Chickpeas: Why They So Beneficial?
Frequent consumption of legumes (beans and peas) was recently highly recommended by various public health associations such as the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association to mention a few. Among the others, Chickpeas are the remarkably important food species for overall health optimization and for minimization of the incidence of various chronic diseases, since chickpea protein quality is superior to other legumes.
The Dietary Guidelines (2005) for Americans released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in cooperation with the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) advocates for three cups of legumes every week.
Research suggests that three cups recommendation is an average measure or rather the minimum that a person should consume every week. However, to achieve optimum chickpeas’ health benefits, we should increase the intake of chickpeas up to 4 cups per week or even more.
They Help Regulate Level of Sugar in Blood
Chickpeas have various properties that much help in glucose level regulation and management.
Firstly, chickpeas have relatively low Glycemic Index (GI). GI values determine how fast the sugar concentration in your blood goes up after taking a meal. Foods that recognized as having low GI values promote management of glucose level to a great extent.
Secondly, the fibre contained in chickpeas play a significant role in the management of blood sugar level. The reason being, fibre reduces carb absorption hence promoting a slow and constant rise in the level of glucose in the blood. The high protein content is also beneficial for patients ailing from type two diabetes.
In a certain study, 19 healthy individuals were fed on meals containing 250 g. of chickpeas for a certain period. They were then supplied with whole grain cereals for another same period. When they were examined, there was evidence of 20% reduction in the level of blood sugar while they were on chickpeas compared with when they were feeding on whole grain cereals.
Research has also proved that participants feeding on chickpeas show a significant increase in the insulin sensitivity which is a substantial factor in the regulation of blood sugar level mechanism. Moreover, eating of chickpeas reduces the risks of heart diseases and diabetes. These diseases are to a large extent related to negative effects of frequent and fast rise in the glucose concentration in blood.
They Support Digestive Health
Chickpeas are extremely rich in fibres; fibre has various well-established digestive health benefits. Since the fibre contained in chickpeas dissolves in water, it mixes easily with water forming a substance that looks like a gelatinous material in the gastrointestinal tract.
The major advantage of soluble fibre that it has prebiotic properties: it is considered as a food source by healthy bacteria increasing it in the gut and at the same time it suppresses the growth of pathogenic microflora of the intestines. This helps in prevention of various digestive conditions which include bowels irritation syndrome and also colon cancer.
Research shows that those who take chickpeas frequently record significant improvement in the functioning of the bowels such as softer and easier stool consistency and regular guts movement unlike those who do not.
Promote Weight Loss Without Hunger
Chickpeas have various properties that aid your body in weight regulation, promoting weight loss.
The first is that their calorie density is generally low. It means that the calorie content they supply is relatively few compared to the high nutritional value ingredients they provide.
Individuals whose calorie intake is low are more likely to reduce weight and also maintain it at the required level compared to individuals who always take a lot of foods containing high calories.
Chickpeas contain fibre and protein which can enhance weight management since they have appetite suppressing effects as well as the high potential in decreasing the intake of calories in main meals.
Numerous Studies revealed that the likelihood of becoming obese for participants who frequently take chickpeas is 53% less as compared to people who rarely or who do not take chickpeas at all. Those who take chickpeas frequently also have lower body mass index as well as weight circumference.
Also, there is research that revealed that participants who took at least one meal containing legumes (including chickpeas) daily lost weight at the rate of 24% more compared with those who did not.
Chickpeas are known to generate strong satiety sensations. Enhanced satiety foods are those with an increased capacity to suppress appetite in the period after consumption.
Food satiety is a scientific term that describes food satisfaction, the state of feeling full and the effectiveness in lessening the impact of hunger sensation on mood.
Participants consuming fewer junk food and reducing calories while supplementing the standard dietary system with chickpeas recorded enhanced satiety, more complete food satisfaction and reduced appetite for food.
To sum up all previously mentioned, we can conclude by saying that chickpeas have moderate calories content as well as rich in protein and fibre that cause the increased satiety. These are the fundamental reasons that effectively enhance weight regulation and weight reduction.
Chickpeas are among the healthiest food that you can think of incorporating into your daily ration. They are rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals, and fibre content. These characteristics make chickpeas contribute greatly to the reduction of sugar concentration in blood and also to weight regulation. Frequent intake of chickpeas guarantees improvement in your health as well as the reduction of chronic diseases.
They are also affordable and readily available in the market. Therefore, you will not struggle to find them. Chickpeas are generally cheaper than meat. Replacing a portion of your meat with legumes can save money, enrich your meal with nutrients and increase your fibre intake.
Adopt this delicious food in your meals, and you will undoubtedly reap the health benefits associated with chickpeas.