Learn all about the superfoods that will help you live a longer and healthier life. Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach, fills you in…
Cheap, delicious and versatile, chickpeas (sometimes called garbanzo beans) are an easy food to add to your diet to gain nutritional benefits. From salads, homemade channa masala curry and making your own hummus, to using chickpea flour for your morning pancakes, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and are a great source of plant-based protein. Here are five more reasons to put them on your shopping list…
Chickpeas are a good source of iron, which is essential for the blood to transport oxygen around the body to its cells. Iron deficiency anemia can occur after prolonged periods without enough iron. Research suggests that iron stores can be lower in vegetarian women, especially those with a poor diet. This can lead to iron deficiency anemia, causing weakness, tiredness and in severe cases, life threatening organ damage.
Improved mental health
A cup of chickpeas contains around a sixth of your daily recommended amount of choline, an essential nutrient that impacts liver function, muscle movement, metabolism, healthy brain development and nervous system function. It plays a role in mood, learning and memory, with some research suggesting that it can help reduce the severity of both mania and depressed moods, especially in bipolar patients.
Chickpeas are rich in soluble fiber, which not only helps increase the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut, but keeps the unhealthy bacteria in check, too. This in turn reduces the risk of digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer. It is important to note that in some cases chickpeas can help with bloating and gas, but some with irritable bowel syndrome may find it a trigger.
Helps fight diabetes
Fiber again is the key here, and because chickpeas are rich in it, The American Diabetes Association recommends them as a key food for those with diabetes. One study showed that eating at least 30 g of fiber every day could reduce inflammation in people with type 1 diabetes, while another study said that a high fiber diet may help lower blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Reduce cancer risk
Antioxidants are essential for helping the body remove toxic substances called free radicals that build up in the body. They damage cells and cause various health issues, including cancer. The selenium and beta carotene in chickpeas act as antioxidants, with selenium’s antioxidant activity linked to protection from cancer. There is also evidence that fiber can help reduce the risk of bowel cancer.