For The Love of Chana: Chickpea Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, & Recipes

by Shaun Dmello, expert review by Meghna Unhawane, B.Sc. (Home Science & Nutrition)
Published on In NutritionLeave a Comment

Boiled, soaked, mashed, powdered, or canned, chickpeas are among the most versatile of legumes, lending themselves to a variety of dishes. Commonly referred to as chana in India, boiled chickpea is a popular snack with weight-watchers and fitness freaks, as well as with pot-bellied beer drinkers in local bars! But what’s the deal with chickpeas? Why do dietitians, nutritionists, athletes, and foodies alike love this unassuming bean?

Let’s take a closer look at chickpeas nutrition and health benefits to get a better idea.

Chickpea Nutrition Facts (per cup)

Chickpeas are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. The heart and bone-healthy legume is filled with the goodness of protein, calcium, potassium, and carbohydrates to help you improve your overall health. Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas are like little nutrition bombs!

  • 268 calories
  • 5 grams of dietary fiber
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 84% manganese
  • 71% folate
  • 29% copper
  • 28% phosphorus
  • 26% iron
  • 17% zinc

Chickpea Health Benefits

Actively cultivated for the last 7,000 years, chickpeas have long been a part of several traditional diets. Although there are many varieties of this humble legume, from black chickpeas to white chickpeas, there’s little difference between their nutritional profiles. Here are the top health benefits of chickpeas:

Protects Against Heart Disease

Fiber-rich garbanzo beans can help protect the heart against various types of cardiac disease. Dietary fiber from chickpea binds with cholesterol in the digestive tract to be eliminated through excretion, helping keep blood cholesterol levels in check.

Helps Control Diabetes

The fiber in chickpea also helps lower blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics, reducing the risk of dangerous spikes. Consuming 100 gm of chickpeas a day will provide you with 30% of your fiber requirement, assuming that you require 2,000 calories a day.

Regulates Blood Pressure

Naturally low in sodium, chickpeas are the perfect addition to your diet if you are at risk of hypertension or heart disease. Excess sodium in the bloodstream reduces blood viscosity, increasing blood pressure and putting greater stress on the heart.

On the other hand, potassium has the ability to counteract the effects of sodium, helping regulate blood pressure. There are approximately 291 mg of potassium per 100 gm of chickpeas.

Strengthens Bones

Chickpeas are rich in calcium, iron, phosphate, magnesium, copper, and zinc. As all these minerals are vital for building and maintaining musculoskeletal structures in the body, it would be a good idea to include more chickpea in your diet.

Quick Chickpea Recipes

Note: Soak chickpeas overnight or for 8-10 hours to reduce cooking time

Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas

Ingredients

Preparation

  • Add a dash of olive oil to a frying pan on low heat
  • Add the cumin and mustard seeds to the oil
  • Once the seeds start to pop, add the soaked chickpeas, salt for taste, and the chili powder
  • Keep stirring lightly until chickpeas turn golden brown

Chickpea Soup

Chickpea Soup

Chickpea soup

Ingredients

  • Olive oil – (as required)
  • Chili flakes – (as required)
  • Salt – (as required)
  • Onion – 1 (chopped)
  • Garlic – 3 cloves
  • Chickpeas – 1 cup (soaked)
  • Zucchini – 1 (diced)
  • Bell pepper – 1 (diced)
  • Tomatoes – 1 (pureed)
  • Fresh cream – (as required)

Preparation

  • Lightly fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until they begin to turn brown
  • Grind the soaked chickpeas and add to the pan.
  • Add chopped zucchini and bell peppers to the chickpea paste
  • Add some red chili flakes and salt for taste
  • Add the tomato puree after 5 minutes
  • Bring the chickpea vegetable mixture to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes
  • Garnish the soup with fresh cream

The Take Away

In addition to benefits of chana that we’ve already highlighted, chickpeas are a fantastic choice for weight loss and improving digestion because of their low caloric value and impressive nutritional profile. If you don’t normally consume chickpeas, just make sure to introduce them slowly to your diet or you can expect to battle gas and bloating!

References:

  • Bell, S. (2014, March 31). The small but mighty chickpea. Science X, Retrieved February 22, 2018, from https://phys.org/news/2014-03-small-mighty-chickpea.html
  • Wallace, T. C., Murray, R., & Zelman, K. M. (2016). The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus. Nutrients8(12), 766. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu8120766
  • Papanikolaou, Y., & Fulgoni, V. L. (2008). Bean Consumption Is Associated with Greater Nutrient Intake, Reduced Systolic Blood Pressure, Lower Body Weight, and a Smaller Waist Circumference in Adults: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002 [Abstract]. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27(5), 569-576. http://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2008.10719740
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Leave a Comment