Garbanzo beans or Chickpeas can be described as delicious nut-like legumes, belonging to the plant family Fabaceae. Botanically, they are referred to as Cicer arietinum and come in a variety of colors, like red, brown, beige, black and green. They are especially popular in certain Middle Eastern countries, where they are used to make a variety of dishes, like falafels, hummus and curries. Native to the Middle East, the first cultivation of these legumes started in the Mediterranean regions. Later, it spread to countries like India and Ethiopia. Garbanzo beans were also very popular among the ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians. Today, the prime cultivators of these legumes include India, Pakistan, Turkey, Mexico and Ethiopia. Chickpeas have got a typical buttery texture and can be availed either in the canned form or as pre-packaged containers. These plants grow up to a maximum height of 20 to 50 cm high and require a tropical or sub-tropical climate for their cultivation, having an average annual rainfall of 400 millimeters. To know more about the diverse health benefits of garbanzo beans, read on the pointers given below.
Health Benefits Of Eating Garbanzo Beans
- Garbanzo beans are a high source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. The soluble fibers form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, whose main function is to capture the cholesterol containing bile and remove it from the body. The insoluble fiber, on the other hand, prevents constipation, by increasing the stool bulk. They also help prevent certain digestive disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
- An excellent source of the trace mineral molybdenum, garbanzo beans help in the process of detoxification of sulfites. This mineral is an important component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is involved in this detoxification process.
- Due to the presence of the high fiber content, chickpeas are very beneficial for people suffering from insulin-resistance diabetes or hypoglycemia. This is done by preventing the sudden spike of blood sugar levels, which occurs after a meal.
- These nutty-flavored beans are a high source of proteins and help the body combat a number of immune related problems.
- The manganese present in the beans acts as a co-factor in a number of enzymatic actions in the body, which are involved in the production of energy and antioxidant defenses. It is estimated that a single cup of garbanzo beans supplies around 84.5% of the body’s daily manganese requirement.
- Garbanzos are very important for menstruating women, as they help them replenish any kind of iron deficiency in the body. Iron is especially beneficial for women who are either pregnant or lactating.
- Iron, present in the beans, is also an important constituent of hemoglobin, which helps the process of respiration at the cellular level. This is done by transporting oxygen from the lungs to all the body cells. Besides this, iron also plays a key role in the process of energy production and metabolism.
- Regular consumption of garbanzo beans is associated with reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease.
- Chickpeas have considerable amounts of the naturally occurring substance called purines. Excessive intake of purines is associated with certain health problems, like gout and formation of kidney stones. This is because increased accumulation of purines leads to increased accumulation of uric acid in the body.
- People who are sensitive to sulfites may experience symptoms like rapid heartbeat, headache and disorientation, after eating garbanzo beans.
- Proper cleaning of garbanzos is very important, prior to their preparation. This involves the removal of any stones, debris or damaged beans, by spreading them on a light colored plate. Once the debris is removed, place the beans in a strainer and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.
- To aid the process of digestion and reduce the cooking time, the beans should be pre-soaked in a saucepan containing 2 to 3 cups of water, for each cup of beans.
- There are two methods of pre-soaking the beans.
- The first method involves boiling the beans in the saucepan for about 2 minutes and then allowing them to stand for a period of 2 to 3 hours. The second method involves allowing the beans to stand overnight in the saucepan or for a period of about 8 to 9 hours. Once the soaking process is over, remove the water and rinse the beans with clean water once again.
- There are two methods of cooking garbanzo beans. One is by cooking them in a pressure cooker, for a period of about 40 to 50 minutes and the other is by making use of the stovetop method. However, the latter method requires a longer time to cook.