Chickpeas: Health Benefits & Nutritional Values


Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, offer a variety of health benefits due to their nutritional profile.

Chickpeas are not only a versatile ingredient but also a nutritional powerhouse that can elevate the taste and health quotient of any dish. Whether you love them in salads, soups, stews, or even desserts, chickpeas can do it all!

From creamy hummus to crispy roasted chickpeas and hearty chickpea curry, there are endless possibilities when it comes to cooking with this legume. The mild flavor of chickpeas allows them to pair well with various spices and ingredients, giving you the freedom to experiment with different cuisines.

What are Chickpeas?

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a member of the legume family. They are edible seeds that belong to the plant family Fabaceae. Chickpeas are widely used in various cuisines around the world and are known for their versatility and nutritional value.

There are two main varieties of chickpeas:

  • Kabuli Chickpeas: Kabuli chickpeas are larger in size and have a beige color throughout with thin skin. They are commonly found in American supermarkets and are often used to make dishes like hummus, falafel, and pasta. Kabuli chickpeas are commonly grown in the Mediterranean and South America.
  • Desi Chickpeas: Desi chickpeas are smaller in size and have a darker color with a rough coat. They have a yellow interior and are commonly used to make Chana Dal, which is a split chickpea with the skin removed. Desi chickpeas are known for their higher fiber content and are popular in Indian cuisine.

It’s important to note that there are other varieties of chickpeas as well, such as black chickpeas (Bengal gram) and chickpea shoots. However, Kabuli and Desi are the two main types commonly referred to when discussing chickpeas.

Each type of chickpea has its own unique flavor, texture, and culinary uses. The choice of which type to use depends on personal preference and the specific recipe being prepared. Let the humble chickpea take center stage in your kitchen and enjoy its delicious and nutritious benefits!

Benefits of Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, offer a variety of health benefits due to their nutritional profile. Here are some key health benefits of chickpeas:

1. Rich in Nutrients

Chickpeas are highly nutritious and offer a range of essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds.

  • Protein: Chickpeas are a good source of plant-based protein, which is important for muscle growth and repair, as well as overall health and wellbeing.
  • Fiber: Chickpeas are rich in dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Fiber aids in digestion, promotes feelings of fullness, and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Iron: Chickpeas are a good source of iron, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in oxygen transport, energy production, and maintaining healthy blood cells.
  • Magnesium: Chickpeas contain magnesium, which is important for nerve function, muscle health, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Folate: Chickpeas are a good source of folate, a B-vitamin that is important for cell growth and development, especially during pregnancy.
  • Zinc: Chickpeas contain zinc, which is involved in various bodily processes, including immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis.
  • Potassium: Chickpeas provide potassium, an essential mineral that helps maintain proper heart and muscle function, as well as regulating blood pressure.
  • Vitamins: Chickpeas contain various vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A, which have antioxidant properties and contribute to overall health.

It’s worth noting that the nutrient content of chickpeas may vary slightly depending on whether they are canned or dried, as well as the specific cooking method used. However, chickpeas are generally considered a nutrient-dense food that can be a valuable addition to a balanced diet.

2. Control Blood Sugar Control

Chickpeas have been found to have potential benefits in controlling blood sugar levels.

  • Chickpeas offer the potential for blood sugar control through low starch digestibility, high fiber, protein, and hormonal effects.
  • Chickpeas have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they have a slower and more gradual impact on blood sugar levels compared to high-GI foods.
  • The fiber content in chickpeas slows down carbohydrate absorption, preventing blood sugar spikes and improving insulin sensitivity.
  • Consuming chickpeas has been shown to suppress postprandial blood glucose concentration and reduce energy intake at the next meal.
  • Chickpeas may help manage long-term blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.

3. Stronger Bones

Chickpeas can contribute to stronger bones due to their nutrient content.

  • Chickpeas are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that are important for bone health.
  • The calcium and magnesium in chickpeas play a role in building and maintaining strong bones.
  • Consuming chickpeas as part of a balanced diet can contribute to healthy bone structure and strength.
  • It is recommended to soak dried chickpeas or use canned chickpeas to reduce the phytates, which can hinder the absorption of calcium.
  • Including chickpeas in your diet, along with other foods rich in calcium and other bone-building nutrients, can help support bone health.

4. Improve Your Heart Health

It’s important to note that while chickpeas can be beneficial for heart health, it’s always recommended to consume them as part of a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

  • Chickpeas are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which can contribute to heart health by helping to control blood sugar levels, reducing cholesterol levels, and supporting weight management.
  • The soluble fiber in chickpeas has been shown to reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, which are risk factors for heart disease.
  • Chickpeas contain minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which are important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
  • The antioxidants found in chickpeas may help protect blood vessels, improve blood flow, and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
  • Including chickpeas in your diet as part of a balanced and varied eating plan can contribute to overall heart health.

5. Lower Your Cancer Risk

Chickpeas may have potential in lowering the risk of certain types of cancer. While some studies suggest that chickpeas may help reduce the risk of cancer, particularly colon cancer, by promoting the production of butyrate, a fatty acid that can reduce inflammation in colon cells and inhibit tumor growth, other sources state that more research is needed to establish a direct effect of consuming chickpeas on cancer prevention.

Chickpeas contain various beneficial compounds, such as saponins and antioxidants, which have been studied for their potential role in preventing the development of certain cancers and inhibiting tumor growth. Additionally, chickpeas provide vitamins and minerals that may be associated with a lower risk of breast and lung cancers.

6. Improve Mental Health

Chickpeas may have potential benefits for improving mental health.

  • Chickpeas are a good source of choline, a nutrient that plays a role in brain function and can contribute to memory, mood, and muscle control.
  • Chickpeas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a brain chemical that can improve mood and feelings of relaxation.
  • The high protein content in chickpeas, along with other nutrients, may support brain health and mental well-being.
  • The fiber and protein in chickpeas can help regulate blood sugar levels, which is important for stable mood and energy levels.

7. Digestion

Chickpeas can have both positive and negative effects on digestion.

  • Chickpeas are high in fiber, which can promote healthy digestion by moving food through the digestive tract and reducing symptoms of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • The fiber in chickpeas can create a gel-like substance in the digestive system, which helps bind waste and toxins and facilitates regular bowel movements.
  • However, some people may experience discomfort and bloating after consuming chickpeas due to the presence of indigestible sugars called saccharides.
  • To make chickpeas more digestible, it is recommended to cook them thoroughly, consume them in smaller quantities, and pair them with carminative herbs that can help reduce gas and cramps.
  • It’s important to note that individual responses to chickpeas may vary, and those with existing digestive issues like IBS may need to exercise caution when consuming chickpeas.

8. Weight management

Chickpeas can be beneficial for weight management.

  • Chickpeas are a rich source of dietary fiber, which can help promote weight loss. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing hunger cravings. Foods high in fiber are also more filling, which can help control calorie intake.
  • The high protein content in chickpeas can contribute to weight management. Protein has a high thermic effect, meaning that the body burns more calories during digestion. Chickpeas provide a good amount of protein, which can help increase satiety and support weight loss efforts.
  • Chickpeas are low in calories and high in nutrients, making them a nutritious choice for weight management. They are also a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy and can help prevent overeating.
  • The fiber in chickpeas can improve gut health and aid digestion, which may indirectly support weight management.
  • It’s worth noting that while chickpeas can be a helpful addition to a weight management plan, overall calorie intake and a balanced diet are key factors in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It’s important to incorporate chickpeas as part of a well-rounded eating plan that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

9. Reduce chance of anemia

Chickpeas can help reduce the risk of anemia due to their iron content. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells, and it is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide. Chickpeas provide a significant amount of dietary iron, with a cup of chickpeas containing approximately 4.7 mg of iron. Additionally, chickpeas contain vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption, further supporting the prevention of anemia.

It’s important to note that iron absorption can be influenced by various factors, such as the presence of other nutrients and the individual’s overall diet. Combining chickpeas with foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits or tomatoes, can enhance iron absorption. However, if you have concerns about anemia or iron deficiency, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance on dietary changes or supplementation.

10. Lower Cholesterol

Chickpeas have been found to have potential benefits in lowering cholesterol levels. Several studies have shown that including chickpeas in the diet can lead to small but significant reductions in serum total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. One study found that after consuming a chickpea-supplemented diet for at least five weeks, serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were significantly lower compared to a wheat-supplemented diet. Another study suggested that eating one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils can significantly reduce bad cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The cholesterol-lowering effects of chickpeas may be attributed to their high fiber content, presence of phytosterols, and other beneficial nutrients. The soluble fiber in chickpeas can bind to cholesterol in the digestive system and help remove it from the body. Additionally, chickpeas contain phytosterols, which are plant compounds that can compete with cholesterol for absorption in the intestines, further reducing cholesterol levels.

Chickpeas Nutritional Information

Chickpeas are a versatile legume that offers numerous nutritional benefits. Here’s a quick view of their nutritional value.

NutrientAmount per Cup (Cooked)
CaloriesApproximately 269
Carbohydrates34-45 grams
Fiber9-12 grams
Protein10-15 grams
Calcium6-8% of daily requirement
Iron22% of daily requirement (for dried cooked chickpeas)
Folate70% of daily requirement (for dried chickpeas)

It’s important to note that the nutritional content may vary slightly depending on the source and preparation method. Additionally, chickpeas are gluten-free and can be enjoyed by individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.


It’s important to note that while chickpeas offer several health benefits, it’s always best to consume them as part of a balanced diet.

When you are prepping or planning a dinner menu, consider adding some chickpeas to your recipes. Not only will they add a delicious nutty flavor and unique texture to your dishes but also provide you with essential nutrients for a balanced diet.

If you have any specific health concerns or dietary restrictions, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian.