Chickpeas are classified as a legume. They are also considered to be both a vegetable and a protein because they’re nutritious.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central, one cup of chickpeas has:
- 269 calories
- 14.5 grams (g) of protein
- 4.25 g of fat
- 44.9 g of carbohydrates
- 12.5 g of dietary fiber
- 80.4 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 4.74 mg of iron
- 78.7 mg of magnesium
- 276 mg of potassium
- 11.5 mg of sodium
Chickpeas are what’s known as a complete protein because they contain all nine essential amino acids, which are building blocks that help our bodies function properly. “Chickpeas are also an excellent source of non-animal protein,” Lane adds. “They’re great for vegetarians and vegans.”
In addition, chickpeas are also brimming with vitamins and minerals. These include choline, which helps your brain and nervous system run smoothly, as well as folate, magnesium, potassium and iron. For good measure, chickpeas are also high in vitamin A, E and C. “That’s why they reap a ton of health benefits,” Lane says. “These little tiny peas are just packed with nutrition.”
The benefits of chickpeas
Because chickpeas are so full of nutrients, they provide multiple health benefits, including:
Promote weight control
Chickpeas are high in fiber. In fact, the one-cup serving represents “roughly about almost half of the recommended daily fiber intake for adults,” Lane says. This promotes satiety (in other words, it helps you feel full longer) so you don’t overeat. “This can help people lose weight if they’re trying to do so,” she adds, “or maintain their weight.”
Because chickpeas are so high in fiber, they also help prevent constipation — which has the added bonus of keeping your gastrointestinal (gut) health in tip-top shape.
Promote cardiovascular health
Chickpeas are naturally very low in sodium and are cholesterol-free. They’re also a good source of polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats especially help control (and reduce) your cholesterol levels which, in turn, decreases your risk of developing heart disease.
Help control blood sugar
Chickpeas are low on the glycemic index, which means they’re a food that won’t make your blood sugar spike. “This is a great food to incorporate if someone has trouble regulating their blood sugar,” Lane says. “Or if someone has diabetes, they’re good to help control blood sugar.
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