Chickpeas: what it is and benefits

A lot of people don’t know what it is or what the health benefits of chickpeas are, but surely everyone has heard about this food. In recent years, the presence of chickpeas on Brazilian tables has become more common, due to its flavor, recipes and healthy nutrients. In this way, we will show you everything that is important about this food.

Chickpeas are widely consumed in the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia, but unfortunately it would be an exaggeration to say that it is a popular food here in Brazil. On the contrary, many people have never had any contact with this grain, and all we can say is that they are missing a lot.

At some point in our lives we have come across chickpeas, whether because someone said it on TV, or because someone indicated it somewhere, etc. If that’s why you’re here, then stop searching: we’ll give you all the answers!

What is chickpeas?

As the name suggests, the chickpea is a vegetable grain belonging to the legume family. Therefore, we are talking about a natural food, which comes from the earth and which, in turn, has important nutrients for human health. It is similar to beans and lentils and is usually prepared boiled.

Its scientific name is Cicer arietinum, which is how scientists around the world know it. As we’ve said, it can be compared to beans and lentils, and it shares many recipes with these foods. For example, cooked chickpeas are prepared similar to how you cook beans.

In particular, this grain has been standing out when it comes to healthy eating. It is a cheap food option, which yields a lot and can be served without meat and without too many calories, which pleases vegans, vegetarians and those interested in fitness and healthy food.

But make no mistake, like lentils and beans , chickpeas also have carbohydrates and are not very suitable for those who want to lose weight. On the other hand, it’s a great source of protein for those who like to exercise. But let’s explain all this below!

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

One of the things most people want to know about chickpeas is its health benefits. Follow:

  • It is a source of vegetable proteins and fiber.
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Decreases appetite
  • Helps in diabetes control
  • Relieves PMS symptoms
  • Lowers bad cholesterol
  • Increases good cholesterol
  • Good for the testicles and male fertility

Did you see? And these are just healthy benefits proven by science. There are other ongoing scientific studies that may discover even more benefits in the future.

In the next topic, we’ll explain a little more about each benefit and prove to you that they are true, through evidence from scientists and researchers around the world! Check out.

Properties: See a little more about the benefits

In this step, you will learn a little more about each of the benefits mentioned above. This is also where you will find proof that it is true information. Check out our scientific references at the end of the article.

It is a source of vegetable proteins and fiber.

First, chickpeas are a great protein choice for people who choose to live without meat (vegans and vegetarians). This is because this food is an excellent source of vegetable protein ( 1 , 2 ), which supplies part of the body’s needs at the expense of the absence of animal protein.

In addition, this grain is an excellent source of fiber ( 1 ). Thus, its benefits extend to improving digestion , the functioning of organs such as the intestine, improves the intestinal flora and many other advantages.

Rich in vitamins and minerals

In addition to being a source of protein, chickpeas are also rich in nutrients such as essential vitamins and minerals for good health.

For example, analyzes highlight the presence of important minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron , selenium, sodium and zinc ( 3 ). In addition, when it comes to vitamins, chickpeas have a wide variety, including vitamin A, C , K, folate and choline ( 3 ).

Decreases appetite

Recent studies prove that chickpeas help to decrease appetite ( 4 ). That’s right you read. But before thinking that this food is the secret to losing weight, it is worth remembering that chickpeas are a source of carbohydrates.

So, take it easy when putting it on the plate. Adding a portion to a meal is enough to get this benefit.

Below, we made a specific topic on how to lose weight in a healthy way including chickpeas in the diet. Search for the topic “Is chickpeas fattening?” to confer this benefit.

Helps in diabetes control

Chickpeas are a great source of fiber, so it reduces the body’s absorption of sugar ( 1 , 4 ). In addition, it is a food with a low glycemic index, which is indicated for the daily diet of people with diabetes.

Relieves PMS symptoms

This is for women who suffer from common symptoms of Premenstrual Tension (PMS) : Chickpeas help regulate mood, control appetite, improve sleep quality and decrease pain sensitivity ( 5 ). These are all problems that many women experience during PMS.

In addition, the same study found that consuming chickpeas helps prevent fluid retention during this period and replaces the significant iron loss that occurs in women who have heavy flow.

Lowers bad cholesterol

For those who have problems with controlling bad cholesterol , known as LDL, chickpeas can be one of the best solutions. According to a scientific study carried out in Colombia, the chickpea was appointed as a food that has substances that reduce the levels of bad cholesterol ( 6 ).

Increases good cholesterol

On the other hand, in addition to decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL), chickpeas are important for those who want to increase the level of good cholesterol (HDL). Its composition rich in omega-3 and omega-6, in addition to other unsaturated fats, guarantees the body a good intake of good cholesterol ( 1 ).

Good for testicles and male fertility

Last but not least: the chickpea helps in the health of men, benefiting the testicles and fertility. Remember I said up there that chickpeas are good for women, alleviating PMS symptoms? Well, men are also benefited by the nutrients in this food.

A study carried out in Egypt proved to the entire world that there are substances in chickpeas that improve testicular function and sperm quality ( 7 ). This causes men to increase fertility rates.

Chickpeas make you fat?

Despite decreasing your appetite, as we mentioned before, chickpeas are a source of carbohydrates, so we would be lying to you if we said that you are not fattening. However, it is a great source of vegetable protein and (as you’ve already seen) rich in nutrients and benefits. Thus, it can be used in diets to lose weight!

See: chickpeas are a source of protein, which reduces hunger, provides energy for the body and helps in the growth and maintenance of muscles.

So, if you eat a portion of chickpeas with one of your main meals, (like lunch, for example), you will have more energy to expend calories exercising and less hunger for the rest of the day.

This will also help you transform fat weight into lean mass weight, with weight training exercises, for example. So don’t be surprised if you consume chickpeas, work out a lot and don’t lose weight quickly. We are talking about a “shift” of weight from something bad to something good.

But if you overuse chickpeas, you might not lose weight as quickly as you want. And how you prepare is crucial too! Also because if you cook the beans with bacon, bacon, sausage and much more, it can be delicious, but it will send the diet into space!

How to consume? Learn to include in food

Chickpea is a food that can be consumed in many ways and makes up different types of recipes. However, there are some “basic” ways to consume this food. So, now you will learn how to introduce the chickpeas in the diet, through the simple ways to prepare it.

Cooked

In the common pot, just add the desired amount of grain and about 4 fingers of water above the grain. Season with the spices of your choice and, after boiling, leave for about 40 minutes until the beans are soft.

In the pressure cooker, just place the washed beans, 2 fingers of water above the beans, the spices of your choice and cook for about 15 minutes. Ready. It’s great with salads and red meats.

You can eat it with the broth or drain, but if you want to keep it, drain it. Keeping them in water or broth will cause them to fall apart.

Roast

In the roasted version, the beans are crunchy and appetizing, which can be used as a healthy snack, snack or even in the composition of a good meal.

Cook the beans using any of the methods taught above and, once they are soft, drain and place in an oven dish. Season to your liking, but we recommend salt and paprika as it is delicious. After that, 20 minutes in a fire preheated to 180ºC. Okay, your chickpea recipe will be finished.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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