Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, Bengal gram, or Egyptian peas, are a common ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
These little beans are delicious and packed with nutrients that offer numerous health benefits.
Potential Health Benefits of Garbanzo Beans
Legumes (beans and peas) are vital for a healthy diet. The compounds found in garbanzo beans are known to have antioxidant, antihypertensive, hypocholesterolemic, and anticancer effects, meaning they provide essential nutrients and may even help prevent some chronic diseases.
Reasons to eat garbanzo beans or chickpeas include:
- High in fiber. Fibrous foods improve your digestion and nutrient absorption and keep you feeling fuller longer, meaning you are less likely to overeat.
- High in protein. Garbanzo beans are a great source of plant-based protein, and likely provide a higher quality, more complete protein profile than other legumes.
- Low glycemic index. Even though chickpeas have lots of carbohydrates, they have a low glycemic index, meaning they are slowly absorbed and don’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
- High in magnesium and potassium. These minerals are essential for heart health, blood pressure regulation, and bone health.
- Chickpeas contain saponins. Saponins are associated with preventing the development of certain types of cancer and inhibiting tumor growth.
- Great source of magnesium, selenium, and zinc. These nutrients appear to be effective at protecting against depression and anxiety.
These are just some of the many health benefits of including garbanzo beans in your diet.
How to Eat Garbanzo Beans
There are many ways to incorporate garbanzo beans into your diet. You can add them to salads, soups, stews, curries, or make your own hummus.
You can buy them in a can, but many people prefer buying them dry and cooking them at home.
As with other dry beans, garbanzo beans need some time in hot water to soften them up and make them more digestible.
Soak the dried chickpeas in water overnight, then drain and rinse. Place them in a pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about at least an hour. Then they will be soft and ready to eat.
The taste can be fairly mild, so they are typically enjoyed when cooked with other flavorful vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Garbanzo beans are a healthy, nutrient-packed food that offers numerous health benefits. Discover some new recipes to try that incorporate this delicious and versatile ingredient. It might become a new favorite and a staple in your kitchen.