Garbanzo beans are one the most nutritious and fiber filled foods you can put on your plate. Many people like to call these beans chickpeas because they resemble the look of a baby chick’s beak. How cute! These beans have been around for centuries and are used in recipes all the world. They are especially popular in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. In fact, India produces 90% of the garbanzo beans in the world. (via Live Better America)
Garbanzo bean’s deliciousness is only matched by its’ amazing nutrition complex. You can expect a ton of health benefits when you start incorporating these beans into your daily diet. Whole Foods is a big fan of garbanzo beans, and for good reasons! Here are some of the many benefits they mention:
Improved digestion: Garbanzo beans are chalk full of insoluble fiber. Two cups of garbanzo beans actually amounts to 100% of your Daily Value for fiber. This helps support the digestive track, which in turn helps you lose weight. More importantly, this extra fiber in the digestive track is broken into short chain fatty acids that are absorbed by the colon and have actually be proven to prevent colon cancer.
Antioxidants to fix cells: Oxidative damage to the different cells that make up our body is responsible for all types of illnesses from heart disease to cancer. Antioxidants are key in repairing this oxidative damage. Not only do garbanzo beans have the usual antioxidants like vitamin C & E, they also contain highly concentrated amounts of antioxidant phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are found in different parts of the garbanzo bean and studies have proven their effectiveness fighting heart disease and cancer.
Stabilizes blood sugar: The high fiber found in garbanzo beans aid in stabilizing blood sugar. This helps to reduce sugar cravings and keep you feeling full all day long. Fiber helps break down in the digestive track slowly, allowing a steady stream of energy to be released throughout your body, instead of a sudden spike and crash. A study showed that people that ate a ½ cup of garbanzo beans a day improved their overall blood sugar levels. So if you’ve been feeling irritable and fatigued at random times throughout the day, try our Spicy Roasted Chickpeas for you next snack!
Time to go shopping! What type of garbanzo beans are best—canned or dry? Unlike most vegetables, canned garbanzo beans actually retain as much of the nutritional content as garbanzo beans that are dried, with the exception of folate. It is important to make sure the cans are not lined with BPA, a cancer causing chemical. If you’re feeling really wild, you can even try buying the lesser-known “desi-type” garbanzo bean. This variation of garbanzo bean is tan or black, and contains even more antioxidants than your traditional cream colored (via Super Market Guru)
When you buy canned garbanzo beans, make sure you run them under water in a strainer to get off the excess salt that is often added. Dry beans are a little more intensive. The guru of alternative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil, suggests cooking your dry beans with this method:
- Soak overnight
- Drain water
- Put 4 cups of water per 1 cup garbanzo beans in pot
- Bring to a boil in a pot with a lid.
- Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, tilting the lid slightly to allow steam to escape, leave to cook for up to 90 minutes, or until tender.
>> Try our Skinny Buffalo Wing Hummus with your canned or dry garbanzo beans!
A fun fact about garbanzo beans is that they are the most consumed legume in the world. So if you haven’t eaten many in the past, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon and start now!