It seems unfortunate that many people assume that a healthy diet and working towards weight loss means living on salad leaves and little else - once you discover the fantastic flavour of nutrient-rich foods such as chickpeas, you soon discover that a healthy diet and weight loss can be achieved by eating some incredibly tasty and versatile foods.
Chickpeas are a member of the legume family and they can be eaten either in their natural form, or modified in order to enable their use in other ways. High in many essential nutrients, chickpeas are mainly sourced from Asian and Mediterranean countries. Chickpeas are often ground down to create chickpea flour, or as it also sometimes known, gram flour.
Chickpeas are fantastic for a healthy diet and weight loss due to their low glycemic index value and high levels of dietary fibre. By eating chickpeas, you can help to keep your blood sugar levels more stable and the metabolism of glucose more efficient. By including a good amount of chickpeas (or other legumes or beans) into your diet, you can help to negate the effects of other high glycemic index foods, as they will help to reduce your overall GI intake.
Chickpeas - why are they so good for you?
Being such a good provider of so many different nutrients, chickpeas can offer many advantages when it comes to weight loss and general wellbeing. They're low in fat and one of the very best sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre - this means that they can be effective in helping to reduce your overall cholesterol levels, and perhaps more importantly, your bad, or LDL, cholesterol levels. They're a fantastic source of carbohydrates for those that have an insulin sensitivity or who suffer from diabetes and their high folate content (a type of soluble vitamin B) can help to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer, and can also help to lower your body's level of homocysteine, a type of amino acid.
Other benefits of chickpeas include the high levels of calcium and magnesium they provide - the latter of which can help to prevent cardiovascular disease. If you're looking to chickpeas to help with weight loss, then rest assured that they can help to control hunger pangs due to their high fibre and protein content. They’re also a great source of iron and rich in other minerals too, such as phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
Chickpeas - how should I try them?
Chickpeas can be a powerful tool to help vegetarians and vegans ensure that they're getting a good balance of nutrients as part of a healthy diet. By eating chickpeas alongside rice or whole grains, vegetarians and vegans can get an optimum level of proteins and also benefit from the calcium that they contain, which can be otherwise difficult to source if you exclude dairy products from your diet. Additionally, because many iron-rich foods are so high in calories, if you're not a meat eater, chickpeas are a fantastic way of ensuring that you maintain a good level of iron in your body.
If you want to enjoy weight loss, try using chickpeas as the primary ingredient in a tasty salad, and you could also try the delicious chickpea dip, hummus, or tasty falafels.
If you're a little wary of new ingredients, then a great way to try these is by sampling one of our fabulous healthy ready meals. Kirsty's Moroccan Vegetables and Quinoa ready meal contains chickpeas, along with other tasty beans and ingredients, to provide a nutrient-rich and incredibly flavoursome meal that you can simply pop in the microwave or oven, then sit back and enjoy.