The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) -- also known as the garbanzo bean, ceci bean, channa or Bengal gram -- is a legume of the family Fabaceae. Chickpeas are green when raw and turn brown when dried. This pulse has been cultivated for more than 7,500 years in the Middle East. There are many reasons why this legume is one of the oldest cultivated items.
Here are the 7 health benefits of chickpeas.
1. Chickpeas are an excellent vegetarian source of protein.
New vegetarians should not fear where they can find a meatless source of protein. One cup of chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein. Also, because chickpeas are veggie, they contain no cholesterol.
2. Chickpeas can boost your nervous system’s health.
The mineral molybdenum aids in cell energy production and development of the nervous system. Chickpeas also provide the brain the necessary amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Some vitamins, including vitamin B9, or folate or folic acid, play a major role in the regulation of specific amino acids that the nervous system requires. Studies have shown that a deficient amount of dietary folate can increase the homocysteine levels, which can be a dangerous precursor to neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
3. Chickpeas can help reduce inflammation and boost memory.
Chickpeas are an excellent source of choline. Adequate choline intake has been linked to improved sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline aids in the maintenance of cell membranes, transmission of nerve impulses, absorption of fat, and reduction of chronic inflammation.
4. Chickpeas can help you detoxify from sulfites.
Sulfites are acidic compounds found in wines, dried fruits, and some vegetables, which can cause side effects, such as headaches and disorientation. Chickpeas are extremely high in molybdenum, a rare mineral not frequently found in foods that counteract these side effects.
5. Chickpeas can help decrease the risk of congenital disabilities.
Folate is an essential vitamin for fetal neural tube formation. Folate deficiency can result in neural tube defects. One cup of chickpeas contains 282 micrograms or 71 percent of the recommended values for an individual.
6. Chickpeas are perfect for helping proper blood circulation.
One cup of chickpeas contains 26 and 29 daily recommended percent of iron and copper, respectively. Both are essential for red blood cell formation. Increased red blood cell production increases oxygen to the cells and improves the metabolic activity. This may help prevent conditions like anemia.
7. Chickpeas can help aid indigestion.
Chickpeas contain enough dietary fiber to aid in preventing constipation and promote regularity for the digestive tract. Regularity can help decrease the risk for complications like fecal impaction, fecal continence, hemorrhoids, and rectal prolapse.