Chickpea DiscoveryOctober 14, 2011 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Eating a varied diet is one of the best ways to ensure nutritional adequacy. I periodically examine my own menus and look for practical ways to broaden my nutrient intake and keep things interesting. This past week, I decided to try an unorthodox dip to have alongside vegetables. Most of the dips I’m accustomed to are dairy or egg-based and rather rich. However, the alternative I recently discovered doesn’t contain any cheese, mayonnaise or milk. Instead, it uses pureed chickpeas or garbanzo beans as a “creamy” base. The product itself consists of a short list of health promoting ingredients: raw chickpeas, tahini or sesame seed butter, lemon juice, citric acid, garlic, non-GMO olive oil, fresh red pepper paste and salt. Each one ounce serving contains only 45 calories and a fairly strong macronutrient composition: 2 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of dietary fiber and 1 gram of naturally occurring sugar.
Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) are much more than just a dairy alternative favored by vegans. Research conducted in animals and human cell lines indicate that these humble legumes contain numerous antioxidants with anti-cancer properties. What’s more, several studies involving human subjects reveal that the regular consumption of chickpeas: a) reduces appetite for “processed snack foods”; b) increases the level of beneficial (Bifidobacterium) microbes in the gut and lowers the number of pathogenic bacteria including Clostridum groups; c) modifies serum lipids (LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides) in a cardioprotective manner.
Not all chickpea products are created equally. More processed forms such as canned chickpeas and foods featuring chickpea flour tend to have a higher glycemic index. That’s why I recommend carefully examining labels and/or making chickpea recipes at home. A simple way to do the latter is to buy dried, organic chickpeas and soak them in purified water and a splash of apple cider vinegar for about 12 hours. Fresh whey can also be added in order to ferment the beans. Both fermentation and soaking will decrease the level of phytic acid, a phytochemical which impairs nutrient absorption. These simple techniques also support a gentler digestive experience due to the reduction of raffinose, a troublesome carbohydrate which can cause bloating and gas.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Variability in the Distribution of Phenolic Compounds in Milled … (link)
Study 2 – Protective Role of Chickpea Seed Coat Fibre on N-nitrosodiethylamine … (link)
Study 3 – Effect of Chickpea Aqueous Extracts, Organic Extracts … (link)
Study 4 – Chickpea Supplementation in an Australian Diet Affects Food Choice … (link)
Study 5 – Diets Supplemented with Chickpea or its Main Oligosaccharide … (link)
Study 6 – Effects of a Controlled Diet Supplemented with Chickpeas on … (link)
Study 7 – In Vitro Carbohydrate Digestibility of Whole-Chickpea … (link)
Legumes Provide a Good “Nutrient-to-Price” Ratio
Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Apr;91(4):1095S-1101S. (link)
Tags: Heart Health, Legumes, Prebiotics
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition