Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, deserve more attention. Often limited to nothing more than a second thought as they’re tossed onto a salad, chickpeas can be used in a variety of ways, where they add a low-fat boost of nutrition that supports healthy weight loss. The fiber in chickpeas also helps you lose weight in an unexpected way.
Calories are the main measurement that counts when you’re trying to lose weight. Caloric needs are determined by each person’s age, sex, weight and activity level, but the USDA offers general recommendations. According to the “USDA Guidelines for Americans 2010,” daily caloric needs range from 2,200 for sedentary adult men up to 3,000 calories for men who are active. For adult women, the range begins at 1,800 for those leading a sedentary lifestyle and goes up to 2,400 for active women. One-half cup of cooked chickpeas has 134 calories.
When you’re eating fewer calories to lose weight, those calories must be packed with nutrition. This is where chickpeas shine as a weight-loss food. One-half cup of cooked chickpeas has barely a trace of fat, yet provides 7 grams of protein and 22 grams of energy-providing complex carbohydrates. Chickpeas are a rich source of iron, giving men 25 percent of their recommended daily intake, while women get 11 percent. You’ll also gain bone-building calcium and phosphorus and the potassium you need to keep nerves and muscles functioning. Chickpeas have 3 to 8 percent of the recommended daily intake of the B vitamins essential for energy. The same serving also has 35 percent of the recommended daily intake of folate, which is essential for the synthesis of genetic material and the creation of normal red blood cells.
The dietary fiber in chickpeas supports weight loss by making you feel full. Their soluble fiber absorbs water, fills the stomach and sends signals to the brain that you’re full. The total fiber content in chickpeas also improves satiety by increasing levels of a hormone called cholecystokinin. When partially digested proteins and fats enter the small intestine, they stimulate the release of cholecystokinin, which then aids digestion by telling your body to release digestive enzymes. It also sends signals that you’re full. Meals that contain legumes increase the amount of cholecystokinin and help suppress appetite, according to research published in the May 2001 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition.” Additional research published in the September 2002 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” concluded that the sense of satiety caused by cholecystokinin is improved when dietary fiber is increased.
Ingredients: 300 g raw chickpeas, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, half cup of tahini – a paste of sesame seeds, parsley, half a teaspoon of spicy pepper, salt, half a teaspoon of ground cumin, pepper, hot pepper.
Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, where they’re mixed with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and paprika to create a dip. Chickpeas match well with flavorings such as garlic, onion, cumin, chili powder, mint, red pepper flakes and paprika. Make a salad by mixing chickpeas, tomatoes, your favorite seasonings and a vinaigrette dressing. Skip the vinaigrette, add chicken and grains such as quinoa, couscous or brown rice to the chickpea mixture to create a main meal. Turn that into a casserole by adding eggs, yogurt, Parmesan cheese and a topping of bread crumbs. If you’re not happy with the taste or texture of canned chickpeas, it takes extra time but not much effort to soak and simmer dried chickpeas.