Middle Eastern countries have been including garbanzo beans in their recipes for thousands of years mostly because of the amazing health benefits of garbanzo beans. It isn’t until recently that the Western World has begun to embrace them. Garbanzo beans, sometimes called Chickpeas, are part of the legume family and should be welcomed into your regular diet for a variety of reasons.
You are probably most familiar with them in hummus, a dip/spread made from the legume. They are very mild in flavour, with a nutty undertone that combines with other foods and spices easily. Eating them can help with digestion, weight maintenance and even reducing the risk of various diseases. These are just a few of the 8 health benefits of garbanzo beans explained below.
Garbanzo beans are high in protein and therefore, can be used as a meat replacement in vegetarian and vegan diets. (My personal favourite is substituting Garbanzo beans for hamburger meat in a taco salad! Mmmmmm delicious!).
The health benefits of garbanzo beans are incredible as they are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as a high source of fiber.
Why really should you be incorporating Garbanzo beans into your diet? Read further to find out!
#1. Aid in Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
When your blood sugar levels are out of control, either too low or too high, your body cannot work efficiently. Garbanzo beans can help you manage those levels.
They have a fairly low GI – Glycemic Index – which is how health professionals mark how quickly your blood sugar increases after eating any type of food. When you ingest foods high in sugar or carbohydrates, your levels can take a dramatic jump. These swings are not healthy for our systems and garbanzo beans do not contribute to these dramatic rises. The high levels of protein and fiber also help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Although garbanzo beans are comprised of a fair amount of carbohydrates, the fiber slows down the rate at which your body absorbs those carbs. As a result, there is a slow, consistent rise in your blood sugar versus a dramatic spike.
Garbanzo beans can also contribute to a reduction in the risk of diabetes and heart disease. People with type 2 diabetes will benefit from eating garbanzo beans.
#2. Protection Against Certain Chronic Diseases
Protection against chronic illness is another health benefit of garbanzo beans. The risk of certain diseases can be reduced because of the composition of garbanzo beans.
They contain magnesium and potassium, which in studies, have been found to improve the health of your heart! It helps to prevent high blood pressure, which inevitably is very taxing on the cardiovascular system. The soluble fiber can also help to reduce the “bad” cholesterol in your system as elevated cholesterol leads to heart disease.
Certain types of cancer may be reduced by eating garbanzo beans. They help the body to produce butyrate (a fatty acid that can reduce inflammation in colon cells) which may reduce your chances of developing colon cancer.
Also, garbanzo beans are a source of saponins – plant compounds that prevent the development of certain cancers and inhibit tumor growth. B vitamins may lessen the chances of developing breast and lung cancer.
As mentioned previously, garbanzo beans may prevent and manage diabetes. The low glycemic index does not encourage spikes in our blood sugar levels. It’s fiber and protein contents allow carbs/sugars to be released slowly, which also prevents those spikes. The magnesium, B vitamins and zinc found in the garbanzo beans also help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
#3. Controlling Your Appetite
As was previously mentioned, garbanzo beans contain significant levels of protein and fiber. It is that protein and fiber that can help you feel less hungry and avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks. Fiber and protein work together to slow down our digestion process and therefore, we tend to feel fuller, longer.
Additionally, protein may assist in elevating the levels of appetite-reducing hormones in our bodies as well as boosting our metabolism.
We have all experienced that 3:00 PM mid-afternoon urge to snack. By including garbanzo beans into your diet, you may find that urge less intense or perhaps gone altogether.
As a result, you are not polishing off an entire bag of potato chips to satisfy those hunger pains. Consequently, you will reduce your daily calorie count.
#4. Rich in Plant-Based Protein (Meat Substitute)
Garbanzo beans are a wonderful source of plant-based protein for people who choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet — substitute for meat. The 1-ounce (28 gram) serving contains approximately 3 grams of protein. Relatively the same amount found in black beans or lentils.
This protein promotes the feeling of being full and keeping your appetite in check. It also is known to aid in healthy bones, maintaining muscle strength, and contributing to weight control. These are just of the few proven health benefits of garbanzo beans.
Researchers imply that the protein in garbanzo beans has better quality than in other legumes because it contains almost all the essential amino acids (building blocks in protein). So, it is wise to combine it with another source of protein like whole grains to make it complete.
Amino acids help us perform better physically and reduce overall fatigue.
#5. Maintain Your Weight
Many of us struggle to maintain our weight or keep it under control. Garbanzo beans can definitely give us that extra bit of help.
As mentioned previously, they are fairly low in terms of calories. Obviously, the fewer calories you ingest, the less weight you will gain. The protein and fiber may help you to manage your weight because you are not feeling as hungry. Therefore, eating less and perhaps choosing healthier options.
Studies have shown that individuals who consumed a minimum of one serving of legumes daily, lost 25% more weight than those who did not.
#6. A Nutritional Powerhouse
Garbanzo beans offer a tremendous amount of nutrients to our bodies. Calorically speaking, they have a moderate amount with only 46 calories per 1 ounce (28 gram) serving. About 31 of those calories are from carbohydrates, while the remainder comes from protein and a small amount of fat. They also provide us with a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as a fair amount of fiber and protein. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving provides the following nutrients:
- Calories: 46
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Folate: 12% of the RDI
- Iron: 4% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 5% of the RDI
- Copper: 5% of the RDI
- Manganese: 14% of the RDI
RDI means the Recommended Daily Intake.
#7. Digestion Benefits
Fiber is critical to a healthy digestive tract and as discussed above, Garbanzo beans contain a fairly high level of said fiber. The fiber is mainly soluble which means when it blends with water, it forms a gel-like substance in your digestive tract and waste can move more freely through your system.
This can help increase the number of healthy bacteria inside your gut and prevent unhealthy bacteria from growing. As a result, digestive issues like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and colon cancer risks can be reduced.
#8. Cheap And Easy to Add to Your Regular Diet
Eating healthy can often be expensive and many of us need to keep ourselves on a financial budget by also improvising ways to reduce grocery costs.
Fortunately, garbanzo beans are quite inexpensive, whether bought in their dried form or in a can. I personally find the canned version much easier to deal with and it works better with my busy schedule as they are already cooked!
Incorporating them into your current diet is also quite simple. Although they may be foreign to you, they are generally quite versatile and can be used in a number of familiar dishes.
Garbanzo beans can be added to almost anything. Try them in a salad, soups, or even on a sandwich for some additional fiber and protein! It can be found in your local grocery store or look online for a recipe to try your own!
I am a self-proclaimed snacker and the saltier, the crunchier, the better in my books. However, that combination often means something fried and loaded with calories so why not try some roasted garbanzo beans!
Chickpea Stirfry – This video shows you how to make a chickpea stirfry that is hearty and spicy, with notes of Indian cooking. It is tasty and great with basmati rice.
Hummus – The majority of us have at least heard of it and probably have enjoyed it a time or two. It is a dip/spread comprised of mashed garbanzo beans, tahini (made from toasted sesame), olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and fresh garlic.
Curries – Garbanzo beans are delightfully mixed in curries and a great vegetarian option!
Tacos – What? You are probably thinking there is no way you would use a legume in a taco or on a taco salad! Let me tell you, it’s simply delicious and is the way I eat my tacos 7/10 times these days.
- Drain and rinse a can of garbanzo beans
- Place them in a heated frying pan to heat through. I prefer texture so I leave mine fairly whole.
- Add taco seasoning (or hey, make your own) and a touch of water. Once the majority of the water has evaporated, add it to your taco shells or romaine lettuce just as you would regular beef.
- Add your desired toppings…
…and VOILA, you have an amazing meal!
Whether you call them Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans, they are a very healthy food that you need to start adding into your diet today!
Not only are garbanzo beans healthy, but they also are budget-friendly, mild in flavor and easy to use. Rich in vitamins and minerals while being high in protein and fiber.