Sneaky recipe and educational post for you today. I had always been scared of using chickpeas as I’d heard so many people moan about them. They’re flavourless and starchy and full of fat. I really want to encourage the masses to get some healthy fats in their diet and improve their overall health so, here is the health benefits of chickpeas!
Nutritional breakdown of chickpeas
One cup of cooked chickpeas (around a can) contains 269 calories, 45 grams of carbohydrate, 15 grams of protein, 13 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of fat and 0 grams of cholesterol. Additionally, chickpeas contain vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, choline and selenium.
Besides being an excellent vegan and gluten-free source of protein and fibre, chickpeas also contain exceptional levels of iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium. Most non-animal sources of protein, including chickpeas, lack the essential amino acid methionine, while whole grains lack lysine.
The combination of legumes with whole grains such as brown rice or whole-wheat bread or pasta produces a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids.
Blood pressure & Heart Health
Maintaining a low-sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. The high fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and viamin B-6 content all support heart health. Chickpeas contain significant amounts of fibre, which helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables, but can be found in chickpeas. It plays a role in liver enzyme function, and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium prevents inflammation and also decreases tumor growth rates. Chickpeas also help prevent the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.
High-fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like chickpeas are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Vitamin C functions as a powerful antioxidant and helps protect cells against free radical damage.
Inflammation; muscle movement and brain functions
Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in chickpeas that help with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes. It also aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. Mix these with a bit of tumeric and you’re in for a winner!
Digestion and regularity
It’s all about their high-fiber content, chickpeas help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
Dietary fibres are important factors in weight management and loss by functioning as “bulking agents” in the digestive system.Stopping those hunger pangs post meal by making you feel fuller for longer and thereby lowering your overall calorie intake. Learn more about fiber in your diet.
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like chickpeas decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease. So a more plant-based diet is always a positive (read why I went plant-based) and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight. By improving the quality of the fats you’re eating you increase your bodies function to process and store good fats.
How to incorporate more chickpeas into your diet
Chickpeas are available year-round and are often found in grocery stores either dried and packaged or canned. They have a nutty flavour and buttery texture that allows them to be easily incorporated into any meal.
When preparing dried chickpeas, it is important to sort (pick out any small rocks or other debris that may have been wound up in the package), wash and soak them in water for about 8 to 10 hours before cooking in order to achieve optimum flavour and texture. You can tell they are finished soaking when you can split them easily between your fingers. Be careful not to soak them for more than 12 hours, otherwise they become mushy and bland-tasting. Once they are finished soaking, chickpeas are best cooked by simmering for a few hours until tender.
OR buy pre-cooked chickpea cans and rise and go. Try some of these healthy and delicious recipes using chickpeas:
Bake;[Baked] Roasted spiced Baked Chickpeas. The ultimate beginners recipe. If you’re new to chickpeas eat them like this – you will be hooked. [Baked] Honey & Mustard Baked Chickpeas. The perfect balance of spicy and sweet, these sound delicious. [Baked] Baked spiced Sweet potato topped. Like a jacket sweet potato with chilli but with chickpeas, fancy! [Baked] Essentially poached eggs in chickpea stew. [Falafel] Sweet potato & Chickpea Falafel. These sound absolutely delicious, full of healthy fats and carbohydrates and definitely something I’ll try post leg-day! [Falafel] Almond & Chickpea Falafel – These take a lot of prep but they’re totally worth it! You can make a huge batch of these and pop them in the freezer for whenever you’d like to indulge! [Falafel] Sweetcorn & Chickpea Falafel – Relatively simple recipe falafel recipe and I adore sweetcorn so I’m sure these taste delicious! [Burger] Soy & Chickpea Burgers – It’s coming to that season where burgers will be a weekly treat so why not try these alternatives!
[Curry] Chickpea and Paneer curry – I skipped the cheese and added tofu (vegan) so you can change this up so easily! Absolutely gorgeous for a Monday night!
[Curry] Flavourful (but not spicy) Chickpea curry – Lentils and chickpeas are in this deliciously healthy curry!
[Curry] Coconut Chickpea Curry – Another simple recipe, only a few simple herbs and spices for this dish!
[Curry] Chickpea Curry with a pinch of citrus – I really think a lot of curries miss the citrus boost that this curry has from Eat Drink Cook
[Soup] Spicy Lentil and coconut soup – Full of flavour, leave it in the slow cooker and come back to a lovely pot of soup!
[Stew] Chickpea stew – A gorgeously satisfying Chickpea stew that is not only Vegan but also Gluten-Free comes from Healthier Steps.
[Stew] Chorizo & Spinach stew– This stew takes a bit more prep but switch the slow cooker on and let it wizz! It sounds delish!
Any Chickpea aficionado knows that they’re mostly commonly known for being the main ingredient in hummus. Something that you can fiddle with and create amazing flavoured dips and spreads. Chickpeas really take on flavours so add whatever you want to your hummus. Here are a few top picks from some friendly foodie bloggers.
The basic hummus recipe from our lovely Charlotte.
Roasted Red Pepper & Chilli Hummus I have actually made this myself a few years back, but with a tonne more chilli, I thought I was being original. Damn it! Tastes gorgeous!
We can’t all be vegan (we can).. but we’re not so here’s a few naughty hummus recipes;
Baked hummus with yoghurt – This recipe is a subtle change from the usual!
Avocado, Bacon and Chickpea salad (or the ABC salad as I like to call it). Charlotte should totally give me credit for that name.
Lime & pomegranate salad – This is so super simple and it’s bound to tick off your healthy cravings. Sweet, sour, spicy and flavourful!
Chorizo & Halloumi salad – Back in my meaty days this would have sung to me! I adore chorizo and would love to give this a try!
Top pick- Winning the game with chocolate spread, it’s vegan too! From My Boys Club
Very quick summary of the amazing recipes you can create with this super healthy ingredient. There are hundreds of ways to include these in a weekly recipe so don’t put it off, grab some of these golden balls! You can buy them in any supermarket from 30p a can to £1 a can depending on what you want to spend.