Pale, golden chickpeas,
sometimes called garbanzo
beans, are an excellent, lowcost
source of protein, and are
rich in fiber, protective plant
chemicals, and vitamin E.

Chickpeas are a delicious protein food for vegetarians and a very good source of fiber. Their insoluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and removes it from the body, not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Its soluble fiber controls and lowers blood cholesterol, and helps prevent strokes and heart disease. Chickpeas are extremely high in folate and this helps lower levels of blood homocysteine, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. They are also rich in magnesium, which helps to relax the arteries and helps protect against heart attacks.

  • Very high in folate and magnesium.

  • A good source of minerals, including iron, zinc, and calcium.

  • High in potassium to help balance body fluids and protect against fluid retention.

  • Rich in plant chemicals to fight heart disease and cancer.

Practical tips:

Chickpeas need to be soaked for several hours, then boiled for at least 1½ hours. Chickpeas bought prepared in cans are excellent and still contain the important nutrients. Chickpeas are often eaten in the form of hummus, a Middle Eastern dip, but they can be used to replace meat or poultry in soups, stews, and casseroles.

Cooked chickpeas are ground into flour, which is used widely in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. It is an alternative to wheat flour in many recipes, including batters, breads, and soups.

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