Garbanzo beans a good source a protein

By Lindsay Adams
April 18, 2017 at 3:42 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2017 at midnight

Lindsey Adams

Lindsey Adams   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Garbanzo beans may have a funny name, but the benefits these tasty little legumes can provide are nothing to laugh about. Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are common staples of Italian, Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern, Spanish and Portuguese diets but are becoming more common in American diets, as well.

Their high protein and fiber content, in addition to several other vitamins and minerals, make them a very nutritious food to add to your pantry. So what impact can they have in our diet?

The high-fiber content of garbanzo beans is beneficial for several reasons. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that helps to carry cholesterol out of the body.

The insoluble fiber helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation.

Garbanzo beans are also a great source of carbohydrate in our diet because the fiber helps cause more slow and stable rise in blood sugar levels compared to refined carbohydrates (i.e. white breads, pastas, rice).

Because of this more stable effect on blood sugar levels, fiber also keeps you full longer, making chickpeas a great meal component when trying to lose weight.

Garbanzo beans are also a good plant-based source of protein. Animal proteins can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are not found in Garbanzo beans. There are numerous health benefits of a meatless diet, so substituting a plant-based protein like garbanzo beans instead of meat can have a positive impact on your health.

Interestingly, garbanzo beans also contain iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K, which all contribute to bone health.

Careful balance of both phosphate and calcium are important for bone structure. The formation of bone matrix requires manganese, and iron and zinc play vital roles in the production of collagen.

Additionally, vitamin K plays a role in bone production as it helps with bone matrix proteins, plays a role in calcium absorption, and may also reduce calcium losses via urine.

Garbanzo beans can be cooked just as you would cook other types of dried beans: soak them and then simmer them in a pot of water (season as desired, of course). They are also used to make hummus; many recipes are available online or you can purchase hummus at most all grocery stores.

Another fun way to incorporate garbanzo beans into your diet is by roasting them. Simply spread dried canned or pre-soaked chickpeas onto a baking pan, spray with olive oil cooking spray and toss with seasoning. Seasonings can range from savory (garlic and onion) or sweet (cinnamon).

Cook at 400 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. They are done when golden and slightly darkened, dry and crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Some grocery and drug stores also sell individual bags of roasted chickpeas for a great snack on the run.

So expand your dietary horizons, add some delicious garbanzo beans to your diet and reap the nutritional benefits.

Lindsay Adams is a registered dietitian with Detar Healthcare Systems. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.


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