Can the lowly chickpea help you overcome a snack attack?
Studies going back to 2010 suggest that might be the case.
Scientists from Australia studied 42 participants for three months who supplemented their diets with chickpeas.
Surprisingly, they started eating less processed foods.
And when chickpeas were removed from their diet, they once again started grazing on processed snack foods at the same rate as before.
But unhealthy snacking isn’t the only reason to add the garbanzo bean to your diet.
This lowly food packs a heavy nutritional punch.
Chickpeas have 12.5 grams of fiber per cup, roughly 50% percent of your recommended daily fiber intake! That’s quite a bit for such a small bean.
The high amounts of fiber found in the chickpea is why many believe they help overcome cravings.
Even when people were not put on a calorie restricted diet, they ended up eating fewer calories simply because chickpeas were introduced into their daily meals.
Fiber not only slows down the digestion of food, which makes you feel fuller faster, but it also helps regulate blood sugar, prevent constipation, and lowers cholesterol.
All of these features play an important role in maintaining a healthy weight, preventing heart disease, and lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Chickpeas are high in B vitamins including folate, riboflavin (B-2), pantothenic acid (B-5), and pyridoxine (B-6).
Folate is a vital nutrient for brain and nervous system health, red blood cell production, cardiovascular health, and reproductive health. High folate intake is also vital during pregnancy to reduce the risk of spina bifida in babies.
Just one cup of cooked chickpeas contains nearly 90% of your daily recommended amount of folate.
One cup of chickpeas has almost 5 milligrams of iron. Iron is important for making red blood cells and helping them carry oxygen to the cells of your body.
It is also essential for preventing iron-deficiency anemia, especially in people who don’t get their iron from a meat source. Iron plays a role in metabolism and energy production as well.
Potassium is another mineral found in chickpeas and is important for building muscle, controlling fluid balance, and regulating your heartbeat and blood pressure.
Chickpeas also contain magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, which all contribute to building and preserving bone structure and strength.
Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Blood sugar regulation is aided by fiber and protein. These two nutrients have an amazing ability to help stabilize the flow of food through the digestive tract and prevent the breakdown of food from happening too quickly or too slowly.
When food passes through us at a healthy rate, the slower the release of sugar from the food.
Strong vitamin and mineral composition in a food such as chickpeas – including strong antioxidant composition – can also help stabilize the digestive impact on our blood sugar.
Given these basic relationships between nutrition and blood sugar control, it’s not surprising to learn that garbanzo beans improve blood sugar regulation.
In animal studies, garbanzo-based improvements in blood sugar regulation have partly been linked to better control of insulin output and overall insulin function.
In addition, garbanzo beans are fantastic for providing nutrient support to the digestive system.
Potential Weapon Against Colon Cancer
According to scientists at the University of Florida, resistant starch and oligosaccharide are in significant amounts in garbanzo beans, which seems to work together to improve the gut microbiome.
These seem to produce short-chain fatty acids, which may explain why mice had a 64% decrease in the precursors to colon cancer when their diet was supplemented with garbanzo bean flour.
So, the next time you’re at the grocery store or taking a trip to the salad bar, load up on those lowly chickpeas—because they pack a powerful nutritional punch.