Chickpeas are a kind of legume in the same family as kidney beans and peanuts. They’re also called garbanzo beans. They have a buttery, nutty flavor and creamy texture. In the U.S., we often see the Kabuli variety, which is tan, round, and slightly larger than a pea. In the Middle East and India, the Desi variety is more common. These are smaller, darker, and less round than Kabuli chickpeas.
Chickpea Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (152g) of canned chickpeas that have been drained and rinsed.1
- Calories: 210
- Fat: 3.8g
- Sodium: 322mg
- Carbohydrates: 35g
- Fiber: 9.6g
- Sugars: 6g
- Protein: 10.7g
Most of the calories in chickpeas come from carbohydrates. There are about 35 grams of carbs in a 1-cup serving. Most of the carbohydrate in chickpeas is fiber and starch, though there is a small amount of naturally occurring sugar in chickpeas.
The glycemic load for a 1-cup serving of chickpeas is estimated to be 23.
There is a small amount of fat in chickpeas. Most of it is polyunsaturated fat, which is considered to be a healthier form of fat. There are also small amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fat in chickpeas.
Chickpeas are a good source of plant-based protein, providing about 11 grams per 1-cup serving. Protein is important in maintaining a healthy immune system. It is also the building block of hair, skin, and nails and is used to help build muscle tissue.
Vitamins and Minerals
Chickpeas are a good source of vitamin B6 and folate (they provide about 14% of your daily needs of each in a 1-cup serving). You’ll also get B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
Healthy minerals in chickpeas include manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, magnesium, and smaller amounts of potassium, selenium, and calcium.
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
1)Promotes Heart health-
Chickpeas are high in fiber, containing 16% of your daily needs in one half-cup serving. About one-third of the fiber in chickpeas is soluble fiber, making it a heart-healthy food. Studies have shown that people who eat fiber-rich diets typically have a reduced risk of heart disease.
2) May Help Prevent Some Cancers
Several of the nutrients and compounds in chickpeas may protect against certain kinds of cancer.
- Fiber: Protective against colorectal cancer3
- Butyrate: Protective against colorectal cancer4
- Saponins: Protective against multiple types of cancer5
- B vitamins: Protective against breast and lung cancer
3)Regulates blood sugar level-
Chickpeas, like other legumes, contain resistant starch that slows down the digestion of carbohydrates. Some resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine at all. At least one study has shown that replacing more rapidly digested carbohydrates with legumes enhances glycemic control by improving insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes.
4) Helps in managing weight-
Foods that are high in fiber and protein can help you feel full and consume fewer calories overall. Research comparing chickpeas with white bread found that study subjects who consumed chickpeas had better glycemic control and suppressed appetite and calorie intake.9
A review of research found that including pulses (certain legumes, including chickpeas) in a diet leads to a weight loss effect even when diets are not designed to restrict calories.
5)Helps with digestion-
Chickpeas are high in dietary fiber, especially a soluble fiber called raffinose. The good bacteria in your gut breaks this down so your colon can digest it slowly. Studies have found that eating more chickpeas can help make bowel movements easier and more regular.
6)Helps lowering cholesterol-
Soluble fiber is good for more than gut health. It can lessen your total cholesterol and your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. This lowers your risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that you can lessen your total cholesterol if you add chickpeas to your diet.
7)They give you stronger bones- Chickpeas and other legumes have calcium, magnesium, fiber, and other nutrients for strong bones. But be sure to soak them first to get rid of things called phytates, which can get in the way of your body absorbing the calcium in chickpeas.
8) They could boost your mental health-
Chickpeas have choline, a nutrient that helps make important chemicals for memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system activity.
Chickpeas are legumes, as are soybeans and peanuts (both of which are top allergens). Chickpea allergy is usually seen as a cross-reaction in people who already have a demonstrated allergy to soy, peas, lentils, or hazelnuts. If you have allergies to any of these foods, especially pea or lentil, or you experience any symptoms after consuming chickpeas, discuss your diet with your doctor to determine what is safe for you.11
Like other beans and high-fiber foods, chickpeas may cause some intestinal symptoms, like gas. Adding fiber to your diet gradually can help prevent these symptoms.
How to Prepare and Eat Chickpeas
You can buy them dried in a bag like beans and then soak them in water and boil them. Or you can buy them canned. Either way, they’re delicious and nutritious.
- Hummus. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, a delicious dip that also calls for tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.
- Soups and salads. Toss whole chickpeas onto any salad, soup, or stew.
- As a snack. Spread a layer of chickpeas on a baking sheet. Add your favorite seasonings and roast them until they’re golden and crunchy.
- Vegan cooking. Vegans love aquafaba, the liquid from canned chickpeas. It has similar properties to egg whites, and you can use it as an egg substitute.
Chickpeas are very healthy food.
They are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. These characteristics are responsible for most of their health benefits, which range from weight management to blood sugar control.
Including chickpeas in your diet regularly will support your health and may reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
They’re affordable and easy to find at most grocery stores. You can include them in various dishes, and they make an excellent meat alternative in vegetarian and vegan meals.
Furthermore, chickpeas are delicious and certainly worth including in your diet if you want to reap their health benefits.