15 Wonderful Benefits of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Zemira Barnes (MS)

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Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein which helps prevent diabetes and aid in weight loss. The amazing benefits of chickpeas include the ability to improve digestion, prevent heart diseases, stabilize blood pressure levels, and lower the risk of chronic and genetic. They also boost bone, skin, and hair health.

What are Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)?

Chickpea or garbanzo bean is a famous legume or pulse (edible seed) also known as Ceci bean, Bengal gram or Egyptian pea, depending on where you’re eating them. These small, pale-brown beans have been cultivated for the better part of 7,000 years, making them the oldest and most popular legumes on the planet.

Types of chickpeas: There are roughly 90 identified species of chickpea. Although the most common variants are pale-brown, black, green, and red chickpeas.

A wooden spoon and a paper bag of raw chickpeas on a white background

Chickpeas contain a range of nutrients. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Chickpeas Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt
Serving Size :
Water [g]60.21
Energy [kcal]164
Energy [kJ]686
Protein [g]8.86
Total lipid (fat) [g]2.59
Ash [g]0.92
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]27.42
Fiber, total dietary [g]7.6
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]4.8
Calcium, Ca [mg]49
Iron, Fe [mg]2.89
Magnesium, Mg [mg]48
Phosphorus, P [mg]168
Potassium, K [mg]291
Sodium, Na [mg]7
Zinc, Zn [mg]1.53
Copper, Cu [mg]0.35
Manganese, Mn [mg]1.03
Selenium, Se [µg]3.7
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]1.3
Thiamin [mg]0.12
Riboflavin [mg]0.06
Niacin [mg]0.53
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.29
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.14
Folate, total [µg]172
Folate, food [µg]172
Folate, DFE [µg]172
Choline, total [mg]42.8
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Carotene, beta [µg]16
Vitamin A, IU [IU]27
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.35
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]4
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.27
14:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.22
18:0 [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.58
16:1 [g]0.01
18:1 [g]0.58
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]1.16
18:2 [g]1.11
18:3 [g]0.04
Tryptophan [g]0.09
Threonine [g]0.33
Isoleucine [g]0.38
Leucine [g]0.63
Lysine [g]0.59
Methionine [g]0.12
Cystine [g]0.12
Phenylalanine [g]0.48
Tyrosine [g]0.22
Valine [g]0.37
Arginine [g]0.84
Histidine [g]0.24
Alanine [g]0.38
Aspartic acid [g]1.04
Glutamic acid [g]1.55
Glycine [g]0.37
Proline [g]0.37
Serine [g]0.45
Sources include : USDA
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a powerhouse of nutrients, packed with plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and carbohydrates. According to USDA, they are a rich source of antioxidants and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, and phosphorous. The nutty seeds also have a number of essential vitamins like thiamin, riboflavinniacin, vitamin C, A, B6, B12, and vitamin K.

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Let’s look at some of the health benefits of chickpeas:

Prevent Diabetes

Chickpeas have a high amount of soluble fiber and low glycemic index which helps regulate blood sugar levels by optimizing digestion. The low glycemic index refers to the level at which a consumed carbohydrate raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease by producing smaller changes in blood sugar and insulin levels once food is eaten. They can prevent the development of diabetes by ensuring normal levels of insulin and blood sugar and help people manage the condition. Researchers conducted an experiment to compare the effects on insulin sensitivity of chickpea-based and wheat-based foods. The results of the experiment, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reveals that chickpea-based foods were better for blood glucose levels.

Weight Loss

Garbanzo beans with their high density of nutrients, combined with the dietary fiber, are perfect for people trying to lose weight. In weight control, including food items higher fiber and lower in glycemic load (carbohydrate quantity and quality) have been proven to be effective. The fiber helps the body feel full for longer, by interacting with ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and inhibiting its release to some degree, says Dr. Petra Eichelsdoerfer of Bastyr University Research Institute in a study. The blend of nutrients and minerals also keeps the body energized and active, preventing fatigue and snacking between-meal. This makes chickpeas great for reducing overall caloric intake, because you simply don’t feel hungry, despite the 270 calories per cup of chickpeas.

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Improve Digestion

The high levels of dietary fiber found in chickpeas can help to bulk up your stool, according to a study by Robert Murray et al., The Ohio State University, US. Soluble and insoluble dietary fiber work to slow the digestion in the colon, and promote bowel movements. A diet containing adequate dietary fiber keeps your bowel movements regular while eliminating inflammation, cramping, bloating, and constipation. This can also improve the absorption of nutrient digestion and ensure that you’re making the most of the nutritional value of your food.

Boost Heart Health

Our cardiovascular health gets a boost in two different ways from garbanzo beans. First, the high levels of soluble fiber help to balance cholesterol levels and aid in preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Second, this legume can also reduce the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are found in garbanzo beans, which are the beneficial polyunsaturated fats that help protect the heart and reduce inflammation throughout the body. A study cited in Elsevier’s Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that chickpea also helps improve serum lipid levels.

Good Source of Protein

Chickpeas are an important source of the proteins needed for growth and development, as well as proper healing and repair throughout the body. They are an ideal option for vegetarians who want to ensure they have the proper nutrient intake. However, one should not rely on chickpeas as a sole source of proteins. A balanced protein intake is advised.

Rich Source of Antioxidants

The antioxidant compounds found in chickpeas include polyphenols, phytonutrients, beta-carotene, and key vitamins, according to Food Chemistry. These reduce oxidative stress in the body and prevent chronic diseases. Antioxidants seek out free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism, which can cause healthy cells to mutate. These antioxidants may also have the potential to protect the body against chronic diseases.

Strengthen Bones

Garbanzo beans being rich in iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and zinc are exceptionally good for bone health. Many of those minerals are essential to improve bone mineral density and prevent age-related conditions like osteoporosis. Chickpea consumption can also have anticancer effects do to the fatty acid butyrate. Butyrate is credited with reducing colorectal cancers.

Prevent Genetic Defects

Folate is an important B-vitamin for many different reasons, especially for women. Low folate levels are closely associated with neural tube defects and other complications with the birth of children. Adding folate-rich chickpeas in the diet during pregnancy is a delicious way to ensure baby’s healthy delivery.

Maintain Blood Pressure

One of the key ways to maintain low blood pressure is to go for a low-sodium (low-salt) diet. Garbanzo beans being naturally low in sodium help in lowering high blood pressure. Garbanzo beans also contains polysterols such as beta sitosterol which credited with reducing blood pressure.

Lower Inflammation

Choline in chickpeas is a macronutrient that plays a vital role in the body’s ability to fight chronic inflammation. It also regulates your sleep cycle, increases the range of movement in the muscles, as well as boosts learning and memory.

Prevent Hair Loss

Owing to their high protein and iron content, chickpeas can act as a wonderful natural supplement for those experiencing hair loss. These beans are also rich in vitamin A, B, and E, along with omega 6 fatty acids, all of which improve scalp health and boost blood circulation.

Boost Eye Health

Intake of chickpeas on a regular basis can boost your eyesight. They are a good source of zinc and vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and E, all of which help protect vision.

Skin Care

The presence of manganese in chickpeas enhances skin health and keeps the formation of wrinkles and fine lines at bay. Essentially, manganese prevents wrinkles by reversing the damaging effect of free radicals. This legume also contains the element molybdenum, which eliminates sulfites, providing a detox effect on the skin. Other vital nutrients like folate, zinc, and vitamins repair UV damage and toxin overload while keeping the skin supple and glowing.

Balance Hormones

Consuming garbanzo beans can be a safe and natural way to counter menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms like night sweats, mood swings, and hot flashes. Chickpeas contain plant hormones known as phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural female hormone estrogen.

Other Uses

  • For dandruff, make a paste with chickpea flour and some water. Massage this on your scalp and leave it for half an hour before washing off.
  • Chickpea flour is also good for oily, spotty skin. Simply combine some flour with milk and rose water to make a face mask.

How to Cook Chickpeas?

Chickpeas are easily available easily throughout the year in dried or canned form. The canned version contains salt and preservatives but offers convenience. Here’s how you cook dried chickpeas:

  • Sort, Wash and Soak: Chickpeas should be sorted through before rinsing to ensure removal of stones or debris.Wash and soak chickpeas in water for 3 hours to overnight. Soaking the legumes not only brings down cooking time but also removes some of the harmful compounds that can cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract resulting in uncomfortable symptoms like bloating or flatulence.
  • Cooking: The best way to cook soaked chickpeas is to simmer them for a couple of hours until tender.

Quick Serving Tips

Some quick ways of adding garbanzo beans to your diet include:

  • Chickpea is used as the main ingredient in hummus. Traditionally made from cooked then mashed chickpeas, mixed with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and spices.
  • Chickpea sprouts or steamed chickpeas can be added to any salad. They can be used to prepare soups, salads, dips, and dishes.
  • Chickpeas are ground to make chickpea flour, also known as Bengal gram flour. It can be used as a substitute for wheat flour as a vegan and gluten-free flour, or in combination with others to enhance taste and nutrition.
  • Flatbread can be made with equal quantities of chickpea and barley flour. This is a beneficial recipe for diabetics.

Side Effects

While the majority of chickpea benefits are wonderful, there can be certain side effects:

  • They possess purines moderate amounts of purines which can be broken down by the body into uric acid and cause various health conditions including kidney stones, gallstones, and gout. Aavoid intake if you suffer from any of these conditions as chickpeas can serve as a trigger for these ailments.
    The high fiber and starch content of the beans could cause digestive discomfort in some. The best solution, in this case, is to gradually start to include it in your diet.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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