This infinitely useful bean is a real nutritional workhorse. The chickpea’s high insoluble fiber content helps to lower cholesterol as well as guard against digestive problems such as diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome. The high fiber content also prevents blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after meals. At 49 to 53 mg dietary calcium per 100 grams, chickpeas match yogurt as a valuable source of calcium. Chickpeas are essential in low, or non-meat diets, having an average of 15 grams of protein per cup of cooked beans, and containing high levels of iron, zinc, folate, phosphorus, and B vitamins.
As noted earlier, chickpeas can be found in just about any form one could possibly want: pre-cooked, canned, frozen and dried. Although we tend to prefer preparing foods ourselves from scratch, the good news is that chickpeas do not lose any of their nutritional value when canned and pre-cooked. So, whether one has the time to soak them over night before cooking them, or wants to save precious time by using canned, there need not be any worry about losing any of the benefits.
Better yet, in our constant pursuit of the perfect snack that doesn’t involve GMO’s or gluten, we have many choices of chickpeas transformed into healthy puffs, crunchy crispies, crackers, and chips, flavored with everything from vinegar to sea salt, to cheese, and cool ranch!
Lastly, one of the most interesting recent developments in food-hacking involves the newly-named ‘aquafaba’ – literally, bean water. It was discovered that the water in which you soak and then cook your beans, or even the water straight out of the can of chickpeas, makes a perfect replacement for egg whites. Vegans everywhere are delighted with the results they get making delicious meringues, macaroons, fudge, marshmallows and anything else they once avoided due to the necessity of eggs. This has so captivated people that a new group was formed on Facebook dedicated solely to further exploration of this serendipitous discovery!
This hard working little bean has never tasted so good!