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Chickpeas: curiosities and good reasons to consume them

Chocolate, in addition to being delicious, is well known for its power to improve a person’s mood, however, it has its disadvantages and should be avoided especially on a weight loss diet.

But the good news is that there is another food, delicious and healthy, that acts in the improvement of mood, in a similar way to chocolate, but without offering the disadvantages of a sweet: chickpeas.

Below you understand how chickpeas offer this benefit and check all the information about this valuable food.

Chickpea benefits

Cristina Martins, nutritionist from Rio de Janeiro, points out that chickpeas are considered a healthy food. “It is a vegetable protein, also rich in complex carbohydrates and low in fat. It contains B vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium,” she says.

The composition of chickpeas, rich in fiber, reduces the absorption of glycemia and cholesterol, contributing significantly to the treatment of diabetes and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol or LDL).

And those who want to lose weight also have good reason to get chickpeas: the high fiber content helps in the regular functioning of the intestine and in the feeling of satiety. But, of course, for this it must be used in low-fat preparations.

Nutritionist Cristina also highlights that chickpeas are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid precursor of serotonin. “Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that acts in the brain controlling mood, sleep, appetite. In this way, it can be said that food helps to improve mood and produces general well-being for the body,” she says.

Some studies have even shown that chickpeas have the same effect as chocolate on serotonin production, but with the advantage of being free of the fats present in them. All this gave the food the title of “grain of happiness”.

Other research has pointed out chickpeas as a very important food for menopausal women’s health, as it accumulates phytoestrogens – substances also called plant hormones, which have been shown to be able to prevent osteoporosis and cardiovascular problems.

Consumption and calories

According to nutritionist Cristina, chickpeas can be consumed in salads, in pastes, as snacks and in the preparation of pasta and soups.

“Chickpeas are not considered a high-calorie food if consumed in moderation. 4 tablespoons of cooked chickpeas contain 100 calories, 14g of protein and 4.5g of fat”, highlights the professional.

Chickpeas x beans x lentils x peas

Among the legume options mentioned above, which one to choose?

Cristina Martins explains that, in the legume group, beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas contain protein, carbohydrates and iron in very similar amounts. “We shouldn’t choose between one of them and, yes, vary consumption as much as possible, as each one has its advantages”, she highlights.

The nutritionist explains that beans should be avoided at night and in excess, as they can produce gastrointestinal discomfort. Lentils, on the other hand, can be included in a salad at dinner without any problems. They contain even less fat and vitamin A. “On the other hand, chickpeas are an excellent source of tryptophan, a substance that helps improve mood and produces general well-being for the body”, she recalls.

Taking into account calories, adds nutritionist Cristina, 3 tablespoons of chickpeas are equivalent to 6 tablespoons of black beans. “But be careful: this ratio takes into account the preparation of both legumes without the addition of oil or other fats. Normally, in the preparation of the beans, garlic and onion are used, which generates an additional calories to the portion”, she says.

Chickpeas recipes

Below, nutritionist Cristina Martins teaches you how to make a delicious recipe with chickpeas – rich in calcium, tryptophan, iron and fiber!

Chickpea Pasta or Antipasto

Use:

  • 600 g of chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup (tea) of water
  • 2 pieces of squeezed lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • salt to taste
  • mint to decorate
  • Syrian pepper to taste

Way of preparing:

Soak the chickpeas overnight. The next day, cook it in a pressure cooker until soft. Wait for it to cool and put it in the blender, with the garlic, lemon, water and salt. Beat until it forms a homogeneous paste. Place on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with mint leaves. Tips: serve with flatbread. It goes very well with a green salad.

Another interesting and healthy suggestion is to prepare salads with chickpeas. Check out a recipe:

Chickpea salad with tuna

Use:

  • 1 teacup of chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon
  • 4 medium tomatoes, skinned and cut into slices
  • 1 can of tuna in water
  • 1 red onion cut into thin slices
  • Basil and salt to taste

Way of preparing:

Soak the chickpeas for eight hours. After changing the water, put it in the pressure cooker and cook for 20 minutes. In a bowl, add the oil, lemon and salt. Add the chickpeas and stir. On a platter, arrange the tomato slices, tuna and onion, sprinkle with salt and basil and place the chickpeas. Take it to the fridge before serving.

Did you like the tips? Surely you have good reasons to include chickpeas in your diet! But remember that, despite being a healthy food, it should never be consumed in excess and should not be part of high-fat or calorie-dense preparations.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

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