Benefits of Chickpeas
Benefits of Chickpeas
One of the earliest cultivated legumes from the Fertile Crescent, chickpeas are believed to have been domesticated about 10,000 years ago. These beneficial beans have been used for their nutritional and medicinal properties for millennia, and now researchers are interested in chickpeas as a functional food for their potential beneficial effects on human health. Affordable and widely available, read on to find out why you should add this superfood to your diet.
An excellent source of fibre and protein with a low glycemic index, chick-peas may be beneficial in blood sugar management. Fibre-rich foods slow digestion, which can help prevent a spike in blood sugar. Cooking may increase chickpeas’ protein digestibility, essential amino acid index and protein efficiency. Pairing chickpeas with whole grains like quinoa offers a balanced complement of essential amino acids, especially beneficial for those with plant-based diets. What’s more? Protein and fibre work together to help promote feelings of fullness, which can aid in weight management.
Chickpeas are a rich source of many important minerals, such as iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Iron is a major component of hemoglobin, the protein that makes up red blood cells and carries oxygen around the body. A proper balance of phosphorus and calcium in the body builds strong bones and teeth. Magnesium helps prevent high blood pressure and is also an important min-eral in nerve function. Consumers of chickpeas are shown to have higher nutrient intakes of these minerals.
Several studies suggest that a diet containing chickpeas may offer anticarcinogenic benefits. As gut bacteria break down chickpeas’ soluble fibre, butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that reduces inflammation in colon cells, promotes regularity and helps remove sick and dying cells, is produced. This fatty acid may play a role in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. Chickpeas contain several other bioactive compounds, like saponins, which are being studied for their role in inhibiting tumour growth and may help prevent the development of certain cancers.
Research is also underway to expand chickpeas’ applications in cosmetics, food and pharmaceuticals. Traditional and anecdotal usage suggests there are benefits to the skin when applied topically. Chickpea powder or flour is sometimes added to anti-dandruff treatments and used in the preparation of facial masks; it’s also an effective addition to scrubs and exfoliating products. Chickpea saponins have gentle surfactant properties and could be used as a natural alternative to sulphates in cleansers and detergents.
EXFOLIATING FACE MASK
Mix 1 tbsp chickpea flour with enough water to form a paste. Apply to face and let sit for five to 15 minutes. Rinse with water in circular motion. Follow up with regular skin-care routine.
Try these products that contain chickpeas or their essential components.
PURE HEART ESSENTIALS Face Turmeric, Buttermilk & Chickpea Soap, $10, pureheartessentials.com.
MOON JUICE Magnesi-Om Powder Supplement, $58, sephora.ca.
MI NATURE Ubtan Face Pack Powder, $18, amazon.ca.