Chickpea- health benefits, nutrition and recipes

Chickpea is known as a plant that is rich in protein, carbohydrates, and nutrition, and its seeds and sprouts have been processed into various health foods such as promote bowel function, reduces high cholesterol, remove arteries blockages, helps to get rid of mid section visceral fat, detox the body and prevent diabetes.

Chickpea nutrition value, facts, types and calories

The scientific name of chickpea is Cicer arietinum.

It is also known as  as gram, or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean and sometimes known as Egyptian pea, ceci, cece or chana or Kabuli Chana.

Other names include Granos de garbanzo (Spanish), Des pois chiches (French), Chana, Kabuli Chana (Hindi), Kothu kadalai (Tamil), Kadala (Malayalam), Sanagalu (Telugu), Chana (Gujarati), Chola (Bengali), Harbara (Marathi), Buta (Oriya), Chole (Punjabi), Chana sabut (Urdu).

There are 3 types of chickpea seeds-

  1.  Desi chickpeas– small, darker seeds and a rough coat which is mainly grown in India, often known as Bengal gram or kala chana, black chickpea or chhola boot. It contains higher fiber content than other varieties, and hence a very low glycemic index, which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems.
  2. Bombay chickpeas (Bambai) – also dark but slightly larger than desi, popular in the Indian subcontinent.
  3. Kabuli  lighter-coloured, larger and with a smoother coat, popular in  Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Northern Africa, South America and Indian subcontinent.

Green chickpeas are common in the state of Maharastra, India. In Marathi, they are called harbhara.

Black chickpea, ceci neri, is grown only in Apulia, in southeastern Italy. It is larger and darker than the desi variety.

It is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium.

It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein and Copper, and a very good source of Folate and Manganese.

A 100 gm of chickpea contain 364 calories.

An uncommon black chickpea, ceci neri, is grown only in Apulia, in southeastern Italy. It is larger and darker than the desi variety.

Health benefits of chickpea or garbanzo bean

Chickpea improves bowel health

A study has indicated that diet supplemented with chickpeas has favorable effects on serum lipids, glucose tolerance, satiety level and bowel function.

Chickpeas reduces high cholesterol

Another study has shown that dietary supplementation with chickpeas for at least 5 weeks results in small but significant reductions in serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterols in adult women and men.

Chickpeas are good for arteries

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body.Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries that narrows and harden the arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

According to studies, eating bengal gram or chickpea seed coat slows the development atherosclerosis due to the increased catabolism and excretion of cholesterol.

Chickpea helps to prevent cancer

In a study, chickpea seeds contain compound which exhibit anti-cancer properties.

A study has shown that chickpea flour inhibits the formation of precancerous lesions , suggesting that they may reduce the risk for colon cancer incidence.

Chickpeas protects the body from harmful toxins

N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) is one of the important carcinogenic nitrosamines frequently present in human environment and food chain that poses a significant human health hazard. A study has shown that chickpea seed coat fiber protects against n-nitrosodiethylamine-induced toxicity and protect the body against oxidative stress damage due to its antioxidant activity.

Chickpeas reduces abdominal obesity and prevent diabetes

According to a study the dietary  intake of chickpeas reverses visceral adiposity, beneficial for correcting dyslipidaemia and preventing diabetes.

Chickpea sprouts improves memory

A study has shown that chickpea sprouts as dietary supplement helps to ameliorated hyperglycemic symptoms of the diabetes i.e. improve lipid metabolism, decrease blood glucose level, and reduce impairment of diabetic related spatial learning and memory.

Chickpea sprouts contain more isoflavones

According to a clinical study, seed germination of chickpeas (i.e. sprouting) increases the levels of four main isoflavones in chickpeas, i.e., isoflavones, formononetin, biochanin A, ononin, and biochanin A-7-O-β-D-glucoside.

How to eat chickpea?

Chickpea recipes ideas and uses

  • Add sprouted chickpeas or boiled chickpeas to your tapas or salad recipes.
  • Use chickpea flour to bake bread , make falafel , farinata or panelle.
  • Soak chickpea seeds for about 12 to 24 hours prior to cooking as it reduces cooking time.
  • Roast chickpeas, add various spices and salt, eat it as snack.
  • Make a smooth paste out of cooked chickpea, add sesame seeds paste, little oil , salt , black pepper with additional herbs to make healthy hummus out of it.
  • Pop the chickpea seeds and eat it like popcorn.
  • Add chickpea to pasta, soups, stews, curries and mix them with other vegetables.