If you’re looking to make your meals healthier and more interesting, garbanzo beans can be the perfect ingredient to add to the mix. This super-nutritious food is surprisingly delicious in many dishes, including appetizers, salads, soups, stews, and even desserts! But what are garbanzo beans? Keep reading to find out more, including its surprising health benefits.
What are Garbanzo Beans?
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are small legumes with a unique nutty flavor and tender texture that make them delicious in soups, stews, and curries. They are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. You can also find them in Indian cuisine in the form of chana masala and chana saag as well as in Chinese cuisine in the form of chow mein, or fried garbanzo beans.
Garbanzo beans have also gained a lot of popularity in recent years as the main ingredient in hummus, a delicious Middle Eastern dip made by blending cooked chickpeas with tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice.
But with or without hummus, garbanzo beans offer various important benefits to your health, thus making it a healthy choice to incorporate into your diet. See Broccoli Hummus Miso Hummus and Roasted Fennel Hummus.
Garbanzo Beans Nutritional Facts
Garbanzo beans are rich in various nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a decent amount of protein.
A cup (164-gram) of cooked garbanzo beans contains
- Calories: 269
- Carbohydrates: 45 grams
- Protein: 14.5 grams
- Fat: 4.2 grams
- Fiber: 12.5 grams
- Manganese: 1.7 milligrams, or 84 percent of your daily requirement
- Copper: 0.6 milligrams, or 29 percent of the daily requirement
- Phosphorus: 276 milligrams, or 28 percent of your daily requirement
- Iron: 4.7 milligrams, or 26 percent of your daily requirement
- Magnesium: 78.7 milligrams, 20 percent of the daily requirement
- Zinc: 2.5 milligrams, or 17 percent of the daily requirement
- Potassium: 477 milligrams, or 24 percent of the daily requirement
- Thiamine: 0.2 milligrams, or 13 percent of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B6: 0.2 milligrams, or 11 percent of the daily requirement
- Selenium: 6.1 micrograms, or 9 percent of the daily requirement
- Vitamin K: 6.6 micrograms, or 8 percent of the daily requirement
- Calcium: 80.4 milligrams, or 8 percent of the daily requirement
- Riboflavin: 0.1 milligrams, or 6 percent of the daily requirement
- Pantothenic acid: 0.5 milligrams, or 5 percent of the daily requirement
What are Garbanzo Beans Benefits?
1. Aids digestion
Chickpeas are high in dietary fiber which is an important component of healthy digestion.
This fiber helps feed and increase the diversity of your good bacteria while suppressing the growth of the bad ones. If you lack enough good gut bacteria, the bad ones will thrive, predisposing you to health issues like conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and gut issues like diarrhea, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Also, the fiber content in chickpeas helps add bulk to your stool thus promoting bowel movements and preventing constipation.
In one crossover study, 42 participants consumed their usual diet for 4 weeks followed by a chickpea-rich diet for 12 weeks, and went back to their usual diet for another 4 weeks.
At the end of the study, the participants reported improved bowel function and satiety levels.
2. Garbanzo beans are a good source of plant protein
Protein is an essential mineral needed for body processes. It’s made up of building blocks called amino acids it’s these amino acids that the body uses for different functions like growth, tissue repair, and enzymatic functions.
All legumes contain some amino acids but unlike the rest, garbanzo beans contain almost all the amino acids required by the body with only methionine missing. So combining chickpeas with other plant proteins like whole grains will easily provide all the required amino acids.
A cup of cooked/boiled chickpeas (164 g) contains 14.4 grams of protein or 29 percent of your daily protein requirements.
If you are a vegan or on a plant-based diet and wondering where your protein will come from, chickpeas will make a great addition to your diet.
3. Chickpeas can lower your cholesterol
Eating chickpeas can lower cholesterol levels. The fiber they contain binds with bile acids in your digestive tract and helps prevent them from being reabsorbed by your body, which leaves you with more cholesterol to excrete through bowel movements. As a result, less cholesterol circulates through your bloodstream, where it would otherwise contribute to plaque formation on artery walls.
In one study, chickpea supplementation in the diet was compared to wheat supplementation for at least 5 weeks each. Total cholesterol was reduced by 3.9 percent while the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) also referred to as “bad cholesterol” was reduced by 4.6 percent.
A diet high in fiber has also been shown to reduce serum triglycerides, another type of blood fat that contributes to heart disease risk. Cholesterol-lowering fiber is also found in beans, lentils, peas, and other legumes.
4. May help control blood sugar levels
Chickpeas are generally low in the Glycemic index, making them suitable for blood sugar regulation, especially for anyone with diabetes.
Research suggests that chickpeas can help lower blood sugar levels and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. When you eat food with a high glycemic index, your body will release a large amount of sugar as well as insulin to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. Insulin is a hormone produced by cells in your pancreas. It helps glucose get into cells to be used for energy or stored as fat if there’s excess glucose. This may cause you to gain weight and increase your risk of metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes. Chickpeas are low on the glycemic index scale, which means they have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. In fact, they may even help control them. The high fiber levels in Garbanzo beans increase how slowly glucose is released into your bloodstream. This helps control both blood sugars and insulin.
Chickpeas are also high in protein which, in combination with the high fiber slows digestion, hence a slow release and absorption of sugar into the blood. The fiber also promotes fullness, preventing you from overeating.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming chickpeas had a 21 percent reduction in blood glucose levels compared to whole grain cereals.
According to research, the glucose regulating effects of chickpeas may help prevent other chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
5. Improves heart health
Research has shown that people who consume chickpeas have lower cholesterol levels than those who don’t. You might be wondering: How do they work? One explanation is that chickpeas contain high amounts of fiber, which helps to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. But there are other nutrients in chickpeas, including folate and magnesium, which also help improve heart health. For example, a study from 2013 found that men with higher intakes of magnesium had lower blood pressure.
Chickpeas are rich in other heart-healthy vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, potassium iron, and selenium, which prevent high blood pressure, a great risk factor for heart disease. Read More.
6. They may help strengthen your bones
Studies have found that chickpeas may prevent hip fractures in older adults. In one study, 60-year-old women who ate an average of one cup of cooked chickpeas per week showed less bone loss over time than women who avoided them. Part of that benefit may be due to a high concentration of boron, which is thought to slow bone breakdown and even make bones stronger when combined with calcium. One cup contains about 5 milligrams (mg) of boron. An 8-ounce glass of cow’s milk has only 1 mg boron. So consider adding chickpeas to your diet instead of incorporating dairy. Besides, dairy is very detrimental to your health.
In addition, garbanzo beans, like other legumes, contain substantial amounts of calcium, magnesium, protein, and phosphorus which play a big role in promoting and maintaining strong bones.
7. May help control your appetite
High protein content increases the levels of satiety by increasing your appetite-reducing hormones GLP-1 and YY while reducing your hunger hormone ghrelin.
According to a study published in the Nutrition Journal, eating chickpeas for breakfast can keep you feeling full for longer than other cereals. The study found that subjects who consumed half a cup of cooked chickpeas with their breakfast reported greater satiety levels than those who had eaten cereal.
The high fiber also slows digestion, which reduces stomach emptying and promotes a feeling of fullness. This reduces calorie intake and aids weight loss.
Another study found that people who ate a meal with garbanzo beans (chickpeas) as opposed to pinto beans felt fuller and less hungry. Researchers suggested that garbanzo beans’ high fiber content and protein may play a role in preventing overeating. If you want to avoid being distracted by mid-afternoon hunger pangs, opt for a healthy snack like garbanzo beans.
You can also try adding some chickpeas to your morning oatmeal or yogurt. You should see an improvement in your appetite control within a few days.
8. It May help lower your cancer risk
A diet high in chickpeas can help prevent breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. Chickpeas are loaded with isoflavones, which aid in preventing these types of cancers by blocking estrogen from binding to certain receptors.
Also, the fiber in chickpeas promotes the production of butyrate, short-chain fatty acid that nourishes your gut cells. Butyrate has also been shown to reduce inflammation and hinder the multiplication of colon cancer cells. Read More.
Chickpeas also contain saponins, compounds that lower blood lipids, lower blood glucose response, and lower cancer risks.
9. May boost your mental health
One benefit that is often overlooked by most people is chickpeas’ ability to enhance brain function. The folate and vitamin B6 contained in chickpeas are vital for proper brain functioning, making them an excellent addition to a diet focused on improved mental health.
Folate also helps prevent cognitive decline with age, keeping you mentally sharp well into your golden years. Vitamin B6 helps create serotonin and norepinephrine, both of which are critical for healthy moods. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, chickpeas may be able to help reduce symptoms. This can be especially helpful if combined with therapy and other treatment methods.
Moreover, chickpeas are high in choline, a nutrient that supports the nervous system and brain function. It treats anxiety, improves brain development, and increases mental sharpness and focus.
Choline can also lower inflammation, improve muscle movements, and promote good sleep. Read More.
10. Boosts energy and immunity
Chickpeas are a wonderful source of manganese, a trace mineral that boosts energy production. Manganese is also anti-inflammatory which helps reduce inflammation in the body and boost immunity.
A cup of chickpeas offers about 1.7 milligrams of manganese, which is equivalent to 84 percent of your daily requirement.
11. They are anti-aging
Chickpeas contain high levels of magnesium, which balances the fatty acids in the body preventing wrinkles and fine lines.
The copper and iron in chickpeas also help promote circulation on the skin which helps nourish your cells giving you natural, glowing, and healthy skin.
12. They are great for your eyes
Chickpeas are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, both important for healthy eyes. These antioxidants may help protect against conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. Consuming chickpeas regularly may also boost your protection against damaging blue light from smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices. Research suggests that people who eat more fruits and vegetables with these nutrients have a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.
In addition, chickpeas are an incredible source of zinc, a trace mineral that boosts the production of melanin which protects your eyes from direct sunlight.
An easy way to get your daily dose is by adding them to salads or pasta dishes. And you can even use them in desserts! They’re perfect for baked goods like brownies and cookies because they add moisture and protein without affecting flavor or texture. You can also experiment with blending chickpeas into hummus and adding them to bread and muffins. Or make healthy veggie burgers with ground chickpeas instead of meat for a high-protein option that will fill you up on fewer calories.
13. Promotes healthy hair
You probably don’t know it, but chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are one of your hair’s best friends. A simple snack made with these nutrient-dense little legumes provides an array of benefits for your hair.
Eating chickpeas is an excellent way to promote healthy hair.
The minerals and vitamins found in chickpeas, including manganese, protein, zinc, and folate prevent hair loss and encourage proper hair growth, and make it easier for you to keep it looking its best. Having a nutritious diet is essential for ensuring that your hair is strong, healthy, and shiny.
Garbanzo beans are also high in vitamin A and zinc, which help fight dandruff.
How to Prepare and Eat Garbanzo Beans
One of my favorite ways to eat chickpeas is roasted. Simply toss them in a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, spread them out on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees until browned. This can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how long you want your chickpeas roasted (the longer they roast, the crunchier they’ll get). Roasted chickpeas make for an awesome snack or a great topping for salads.
Because of their high fiber content, cooked chickpeas can add bulk and texture to just about any meal. Simply boil your chickpeas in lightly salted water until they are tender enough that you can mash one between your fingers. Drain them, and then dress with some extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper – or any seasoning of your choice.
Baked chickpeas are a delicious alternative to regular, boiled chickpeas and make for a fantastic snack. Simply put them in a casserole dish, pour some olive oil over them, and season with salt and pepper—Bake in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) for half an hour. For added flavor, you can also bake your chickpeas with other veggies and spices like garlic, rosemary, or paprika.
Purée chickpeas with a dash of olive oil, some garlic, and tahini paste. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Serve with your favorite whole-grain crackers or crudités. Or simply enjoy it as a dip with whole-wheat pita wedges. Use leftover hummus as a spread on sandwiches or wraps, toss it into pasta dishes, or combine it with minced fresh parsley and chopped walnuts for an excellent sandwich spread.
Add to salads
Make a main-dish salad by adding chickpeas to chopped veggies (like tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers) with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Top it off with your favorite dressing. Tossing chickpeas into an easy summer salad is an excellent way to use them in place of croutons or crispy onion strings. Try serving it on a bed of romaine lettuce, or add some spinach for extra nutrition.
If you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to get a ton of flavor in your diet, add chickpeas to curry. The complex blend of spices creates an explosive dish that will leave you begging for more. Try adding 2 cups of chickpeas to your favorite curry recipe for a new twist on a classic Indian dish.
This is one of our favorite ways to enjoy chickpeas. In Mediterranean cuisine, particularly in Greece and Italy, chickpeas are ground up into flour and used as a thickener for soups and sauces. Try making an Italian-inspired pasta sauce using these flour-like chickpeas!
Many delicious, healthful soups are made by blending beans and vegetables together. Tossing half a cup of cooked dried chickpeas or other legumes into your soup is a great way to add extra protein and fiber.
Still wondering what garbanzo beans are? They are one of the most versatile and healthy foods you can eat. This tasty legume offers high amounts of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, including folate, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper. Chickpeas are also low in calories and saturated fat, making them an ideal food to include in your diet if you’re looking to lose weight or reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or hypertension.
Among the benefits of consuming garbanzo beans include controlling blood sugars, improving digestion, promoting heart health, maintaining strong bones, and enhancing the immune system.
Not only that, but chickpeas are highly versatile as well—you can include them in salads, soups, stews, burgers, and even desserts! Here are 10 ways to enjoy chickpeas in your cooking and eating so you can reap the benefits of this nutritious legume.
Check Out These Vegan Chickpea Recipes
Other Related Topics
Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.
Also please leave a star rating ;-)
Need some encouragement on your Healthier Steps journey?
Join our Facebook groups, sharing lots of delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes, health tips, etc., from our members. Please join us and invite your friends to Gluten-Free and Vegan For Beginners and Vegan Recipes With Love.