Masters of Health Magazine April 2019 - Page 32




by Lady Carla Davis, MPH

Specializing in Nutrition

Originally from the Middle East, chickpeas/garbanzo beans were cultivated around 3,000 BC in the Mediterranean basin where they spread to India and Ethiopia. They were grown by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans and brought to other subtropical regions by Spanish and Portuguese explorers, as well as Indians.

They are common in many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes, such as hummus, falafels, and curries. The more common chickpeas that are cream-colored and round are called “kabuli-type.” The less common types that range from tan to black and irregular in shape are called “desi-type.” The darker color of the outer seed of these types are richer in antioxidants than the kabuli-types.

Chickpeas are high in molybdenum, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, choline, protein, iron, zinc, fiber, and phytonutrient antioxidants. These include flavonoids, quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin (in the outer layer), and the phenolic acids, ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and vanillic acid, and depending on the type of bean, anthocyanins delphinidin, cyanidin, and petunidin.

Chickpeas are not only high in fiber, but their fiber provides better blood sugar and blood-fat regulation, and lower level of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides regulation than other types of fiber. Significant results with control of blood sugar and insulin secretion were achieved on 1/3 of a cup of chickpeas a day for one week. Between 60-70% of the fiber in chickpeas is insoluable fiber, which remains undigested all the way down to the end of the colon. This fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line the intestinal wall, which in turn lowers the risk of colon cancer.

Chickpeas also contain valuable fatty acids including alpha linolenic acid (ALA), the body’s omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made.

Thus, chickpeas help reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

When buying bulk or packaged dried chickpeas, ensure that they are fresh and free of moisture, mold, light, insect damage, and cracks.

When buying canned chickpeas AVOID cans lined with BPA, and buy organic.

Canned chickpeas only lose about 15% of their nutrients compared to other types of canned foods. While most of the B vitamins remain, they do lose 40-45% of folate.

Dried chickpeas will last for up to a year when stored in an airtight container, in a cool, dry, dark place.

Cooked chickpeas remain fresh for about 3 days when stored in a covered container, in the fridge.