Legumes 101: Amazing Benefits Of Chickpeas And Lentils
Did you know that every year 300,000 people die because of the obesity epidemic? No wonder, everyone in today’s society is looking for a better option to replace their food and beverages.
Many have even started to move towards entirely vegan or vegetarian diets for good health. It would be safe to say that plant-based foods like legumes are getting plenty of attention these days.
Legumes like chickpeas and lentils have almost become the kings of the food world. And why wouldn’t they? They are tasty, healthy and packed with a lot of disease-preventing qualities.
Speaking of chickpeas and lentils, let’s have a closer look at the qualities and health benefits that you can get by consuming them.
Chickpeas, otherwise known as Egyptian pea, Bengal gram, and garbanzo, are white colored annual legumes from the Fabaceae family. It is one of the oldest beans whose cultivation date back to over 7500-years. Apart from historical importance, this legume is also a great food choice due to its health benefits. Some of these benefits are:
Rich In Nutrients
All beans and legumes have amazing nutrient content, and chickpea is no exception.
At an average, a chickpea contains 8g carbs, 3g proteins, 2g fiber, 12% folates, 4% irons, 5% phosphorous, 5% copper, 14% manganese and just 46 cal per ounces. The best part is that most of the calories from these legumes are carbs which means there is no harmful added cholesterol to your body.
Apart from the essential nutrients, the chickpea also contains a fair amount of vitamins and minerals.
Helps To Manage Weight
Compared to the number of nutrients that comes with each serving of chickpeas, its calorie content is shallow.
They have a considerable quantity of proteins
and fibers which make you feel full for a long time, eliminating the risk of overeating. Chickpeas also have an appetite lowering effect which can help with weight loss.
The best part about chickpeas is that they have a low Glycemic index of 10, lower than black beans, soya beans, and even navy beans.
Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Chickpeas contain a decent amount of fibers which slow down the carbohydrate absorption process ensuring that the energy level remains constant and last long without any sudden spikes in blood sugar. They prevent craving for food after every few hours which prevent the addition and accumulation of glucose in the body.
The amount of protein present also helps to maintain the sugar level. These proteins are especially beneficial for type 2 diabetes.
Protection Against Chronic Diseases
Chickpeas have several vital nutrients and enzymes that help deal with a lot of dangerous health diseases.
For instance, it contains magnesium and potassium, which are beneficial for preventing high blood pressure. It contains soluble fibers that are great for reducing triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Hence, it can help prevent heart attacks.
Apart from these qualities, chickpeas also have some other nutrients that boost butyrate production that help to reduce inflammation in the colon. Its fiber and carbs are also an excellent choice for regulating blood sugar levels.
Beneficial For Digestion
Did you know that chickpeas rank at the top for food rich in fiber? It’s packed with many grams of fiber in a single serving.
These dietary fibers are an excellent choice for ensuring the gut health. The fibers help to slow down the carb absorption process which gives the body optimal time to digest everything properly before more food enters.
They also help to move the food in digestive track with enhanced space which helps to decrease the risk of IBS and constipation. Strangely, these fiber particles are also helpful in balancing the pH levels and bacteria within the gut.
Lentils are mini sized legumes with a look which is very similar to a lens. They grow on 40 cm tall bushy annual plants and usually in pods of two seeds. It is also known as “dal” in Indian regions where it is a standard part of a majority of cuisines. It is also popular in parts of Canada and Australia, mostly due to its nutritional and health value.
The most common of these health benefits are as follow:
High nutritional value
Just like the chickpeas, lentils are also a great source of healthy nutrients.
An average 198g serving contains 39.9g carbohydrates, 17.9h proteins, 0.8g fats, 15.6g fiber, 358mg folates, 6.6g iron, 731mg potassium, 2.5mg zinc and a lot of other nutrients.
The same serving also contains about 230 calories, which is high but considering that you will be full for hours and most of them are healthy carbs, it’s okay.
Regulates Intestine Functioning
A considerable part of lentils is dietary fibers. These fibers help to bulk waste and prevent excess water resorption in the colon which is beneficial for regulating intestine activities.
The fibers are also excellent tools for reducing the absorption of carbs and increasing the movement of food in the digestive tract. Lentils are also a healthy choice for improving bowels movement and decreasing constipation.
Eliminates Free Radicals
There are several particles, and cells in the body that lose electrons and become free moving radicals. These radicals often collide with other cells and damage them causing risk of health problems. They are also a contributor to heart attacks and cancer.
However, lentils contain manganese that helps to form anti-oxidants which are ideal for dealing with these free-radicals. The anti-oxidants donate a share their electron with these radicals turning them to safe compounds.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
Lentils are high in fiber and low in fat which ensures that you don’t add any unwanted cholesterol into the body. It also deals with the problem of suddenly rising and falling blood sugar level and stave off hunger for a long time which further reduces the risk of overeating.
Apart from the resistance again cholesterol addition, lentils are also capable of reducing the cholesterol already present. It contains copper which block the enzyme which creates “bad” cholesterol.
Prevent Atherosclerosis (Hardening of Arteries)
One of the primary causes of heart attack is damaged blood vessels or veins. Most of the times these damages occur due to high deposits of plaque on the walls of the blood vessels.
Fortunately, lentils contain a fair amount of fibers and anti-oxidant which reduces the possibility of oxidation activities in the blood. During this activity, lentils also reduce the inflammation in these areas that reduce the risk of Atherosclerosis.
Legumes are in every way one of the best and most healthy food items that you will ever get. They’re nutritious, readily available, quick to prepare, stomach filling and extremely healthy. The best part is that you won’t be getting stuck with the same taste every time. They are very flexible with many cooking methods and dishes. You can use them for making soup, side dish, the main dish and even eat them raw as sprouts.
They are by far one of the best replacements for meats and other high-calorie protein products. So what’s stopping you from switching to these health makers!