Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a regular kitchen staple in countries all over the world. You are more likely to find chickpeas in Middle Eastern cultures in the form of hummus, though it is also used in falafel dishes as well. Chickpeas are a great low-fat option for salads, curries, and even specialty pizzas.
They have a large range of versatility, which makes them easy to incorporate into almost any dish that you might be preparing. They are also a great substitute for meat in some dishes for people who cannot eat meat or also for those that are vegetarians and vegans. It gives them the protein that they need without eating actual meat.
Chickpeas are a protein rich food that can be added to almost any diet and eaten on a regular basis. A single cup of chickpeas a day will give your body around 12 grams of protein, which is about 25% of the recommended value for people that are consuming a 2,000 calorie diet. It falls below meat and fish in the protein category, but it can be a great substitute for those who are unable to eat meat.
Because chickpeas are also cholesterol free, they can be a better protein for you than ground beef, steaks, or sausages. By replacing these meats with chickpeas, you are also helping to keep your cholesterol lower, as those meats contain fats that can raise your cholesterol to an unsafe level in some individuals.
However, because of the amino acids that we need in our bodies, chickpeas are not a complete source of protein. You would need to eat chickpeas with a healthy whole grain food to make sure that you are getting the proper and complete amount of protein that you need. The most common way to get that complete protein is the add chickpeas and a whole grain into a soup or stew that allows you to keep the foods in a less processed state.
If you are only looking for a way to add a different protein to one or two meals a week instead of replacing meat entirely, there are some great options when it comes to turning chickpeas into something different.
Try mixing it with spices and vegetables and making a veggie burger that you can tailor to your specific tastes. They are also great in a salad for added texture or to also replace chicken or other meats in your salad. Try grinding your chickpeas into a hummus for a tasty dip that you can eat with chips or vegetables.
Benefits of Chickpea Protein
There are many health benefits with adding chickpeas into your regular diet. Lowering cholesterol is definitely the top health benefit, along with its heart health benefits. However, there are some benefits for chickpeas that you may not be expecting. It is important to keep in mind that you need to add in a whole grain when you eat chickpeas so you are getting the complete amount of protein that you need.
Chickpeas contain almost your entire recommended amount of fiber, but they also contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. By containing both of them the chickpeas are actually able to lower LDL cholesterol. Now this does not mean that if your doctor put you on cholesterol medication that chickpeas can be a substitute for that.
It simply means that it can help to lower your cholesterol levels, and you should still consult with your doctor to see if chickpeas can work with your current cholesterol medication to help you reach your cholesterol goals.
If your doctor finds that your levels are holding steady, you may even be able to reduce the amount of medication that you take. Talk with your doctor before you begin adding chickpeas to your diet to make sure it does not bring your cholesterol to a dangerously low level.
2. Weight Loss
Dieting and exercise alone can be daunting, even for a seasoned workout guru. Finding a way to keep yourself from running to the fridge for a snack can be even worse, because you need a healthy snack, but something that won’t tempt you to stray from your plan.
Chickpeas are also an amazing way to keep your hunger at bay and not be tempted by sweets in the break room. One cup of chickpeas contains less than 300 calories, but it also gives you fiber and protein, which can help you to stay fuller for longer and keep your hand out of the cookie jar.
Try taking some cooked chickpeas to work and snacking on them at lunch or having a handful as a mid-afternoon snack to keep you full until dinner. They are also great when they are dried after they have been cooked, and are similar to nuts in texture. You can also add healthy spices to your cooked chickpeas to give you a different flavor for every day of the week. This will also help to keep your taste buds interested and keep you from getting bored with the same snack.
3. Skin Protection
It is common knowledge today that you should be wearing some type of sunblock when you go out every day. It is certainly important to make sure you have it on when you are going to constantly be in the sun on a regular basis.
Chickpeas are also high in the mineral manganese, which acts like a natural sunblock and also acts like an antioxidant for your skin. If you have problems with sunburn, skin rashes, or other skin irritations that are commonly associated with being out in the sun for long periods of time, you may want to add chickpeas to your daily diet to help keep those problems at bay.
4. Immune Booster
With viruses, flus, and other diseases in the air, it is important that we take extra steps to help boost and protect our immune systems to help us to remain healthy and lower our chances of getting sick. Chickpeas can contain up to 25% of the recommended amount of zinc that you need in your diet.
Researchers and doctors have confirmed that zinc plays an important role in keeping you healthy and free of viruses and diseases, and it can also help to prevent the spread of the common cold. Keeping up with the health of your immune system will also help you to keep your overall health in check.
5. Digestive Health
Chickpeas are high in fiber, which means they are there to help keep your digestive system on track. Adding fiber to your everyday diet can help to clean out your system and allow your digestive system to stay healthy.
Maintaining the overall health of your digestive system will allow you to be able to digest your foods properly and keep your digestive system from getting backed up, which can cause you problems.
6. Blood Sugar Regulation
People who have Type 2 Diabetes benefit greatly from adding chickpeas to their diets. Because of the fiber in the chickpeas breaking down slowly, they allow people to get the fiber that they need without running the risk of having their blood sugar spike or bottoming out their A1C levels. Adding in a cup of chickpeas on a regular basis can do wonders for helping to regulate blood sugar and prevent spikes.
At some point in our daily lives, we need an energy boost to get us through our day. Chickpeas contain large amounts of copper and iron that you need in your daily diet. By combining these two minerals, you are giving your body a natural energy boost. They can also help to boost red blood cells and stave off anemia.
8. Building Muscle
If you are looking to add muscle to your body while maintaining a vegetarian diet, add some chickpeas to your diet. Your body needs amino acids to help contract your muscles, and while chickpeas are a great source of protein, they are not a complete protein for your body. Your body also needs the proteins that are found in meats to help build those amino acids to increase your muscle mass and build strength.
For these reasons, you will need to add a whole grain item, a nut, veggie, or fish to your diet to help you increase the proteins you need. Adding chickpeas and another protein source to your daily diet will help you build that muscle strength and also help to keep your body healthy at the same time.
9. Nervous System Health
The amino acids that are found in the proteins our bodies need help with our nervous system and brain functions.
The amino acids allow our neurotransmitters to function properly and allow the messages sent from our brains to our nerves to make it to the correct place. So adding chickpeas to your diet can help you to build up those protein amino acids and give your brain and nervous system the fuel it needs to function properly.
Chickpeas contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to stay in top working order. They have a mineral in them called selenium that helps to support our livers and allow them to properly break down food and liquids in our bodies. While chickpeas are not the only source for liver function, they can be a great source, especially for people who are vegetarian or those do not get that mineral from other sources.
Researchers have also indicated that the vitamins and minerals found in chickpeas can help with the prevention of cancer causing cells. More research needs to be completed on the exact role that chickpeas play in this area.
Chickpea Protein Benefits Conclusion
Chickpeas are not only a great source of protein and fiber, they are also delicious and versatile. You can add them to your salad for a quick lunch on the go, grind them for hummus with pita chips – the possibilities are endless. The protein that chickpeas contain are amazing for your overall diet and health.
They offer a different source of protein and combining it with whole grains or other veggies will help you to get the complete protein that you need in your diet.
You can find chickpeas in the canned vegetable aisle of your local grocery store or supermarket. Just like with other fruits and vegetables, you will want to find chickpeas that are all natural, without any added ingredients or preservatives. Depending on the type of supermarket that you shop at, you may be able to find fresh chickpeas during the warmer months of the year.
If you are looking to use the protein and fiber in chickpeas as a way to reduce your cholesterol, you should consult with your doctor before adding them to your diet. While you will only be consuming around a cup a day, if you combine that with cholesterol medications, it could cause your levels to dip to an unsafe range.
Check with your doctor to see if there is a certain amount that you need to be aware of when eating chickpeas on a daily basis. Make sure you are doing your research on the proteins that are in chickpeas and choose the right helper to pair with them to ensure that you are getting the right amount of protein for you.
Stick with foods that are already rich in protein, add in your chick peas, as well as whole grain, nuts, fish, and even small amount of ground beef or chicken. If you are completely vegetarian, stick with chickpeas paired with whole grains and nuts to help you get the right amount of protein without having to compromise your lifestyle.
Chickpeas and the protein that they contain can help you in many ways in your health. This is not something that you can try for a few days and give it up. If you want all of the benefits that come from the protein chickpeas have, you need to stick with it and make it a daily part of your diet routine.
Chickpeas are an all natural way of getting the protein and fiber that you need in your life, and they can also be a very tasty way to make sure that you stick to it.