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18 Interesting Facts About Chickpea

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Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are nutritious legumes that have been consumed by humans for thousands of years. Here are 18 fascinating facts about these healthy and versatile beans:

Introduction

Chickpeas are an important food crop originally cultivated in the Middle East and central Asia. Today, they are grown and eaten all over the world.

Chickpeas come in two main varieties – the larger, lighter colored kabuli chickpeas and the smaller, darker desi chickpeas. They can be enjoyed fresh, dried, ground into flour, or made into tasty dishes like hummus, falafel and chana masala.

Below are some noteworthy things you may not have known about chickpeas:

rinsed, drained garbanzo beans
rinsed, drained garbanzo beans

Nutrition

  1. Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein. One cup contains about 15 grams of protein, which is approximately half the recommended daily intake for adults.
  2. They are high in fiber, providing over 12 grams per cup cooked. The fiber supports digestive and heart health.
  3. Chickpeas contain key micronutrients like iron, phosphorus, folate and B vitamins. These support red blood cell production, bone health and metabolic functions.
  4. They are a source of antioxidants from their high vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content. Antioxidants help counter inflammation and cellular damage in the body.

Health Benefits

  1. Studies show that including chickpeas in your diet may lower LDL “bad” cholesterol levels to reduce heart disease risk.
  2. The fiber, protein and complex carbs in chickpeas help improve blood sugar control. This makes them a diabetes-friendly food.
  3. Eating chickpeas may also promote healthy weight management because their fiber and protein increase satiety.
  4. Research has linked chickpea consumption with positive effects on digestive health like improved bowel function and relief from IBS symptoms.

Sustainability

  1. Unlike many crops, chickpeas can fix their own nitrogen from the atmosphere due to symbiotic bacteria in their roots. This makes them very sustainable to grow.
  2. Chickpeas have a low carbon footprint compared to most other protein-rich foods like meat and dairy. This makes them an environmentally responsible choice.
  3. They require little irrigation and can grow well in arid, marginal environments. So they are more resilient than many crops to drought, high temperatures and poor soils.

Culinary Uses

  1. Chickpeas have been used in cooking for over 7000 years, making them one of humanity’s oldest cultivated crops.
  2. They are a staple ingredient in Indian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and African cuisines. Signature dishes include hummus, falafel, and curries.
  3. When ground into flour, chickpeas can be used to make flatbreads, baked goods, pancakes, and more. It’s an innovative gluten-free, high-protein flour substitute.
  4. Thanks to their mild taste and texture, chickpeas can be used to make plant-based meat alternatives like veggie burgers and meatballs.

Fun Facts

  1. Chickpeas got their name because individual beans resemble baby chicks. The plant’s flowers also look like fluttering birds.
  2. There are over 90 different varieties of chickpea cultivated around the world. Each type has its own unique taste, texture and color.
  3. Canned chickpeas have become a popular projectile for food fights due to their size, weight and rounded shape!

Conclusion

In summary, chickpeas have outstanding nutritional value and provide us with an ethical, eco-friendly source of protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. They are incredibly versatile in the kitchen while being accessible and affordable for people across the globe. With a long history of traditional use alongside modern scientific support, chickpeas are truly a nutritional powerhouse and culinary staple worthy of being a dietary staple.


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