Although unhealthy, snacks are a common part of our diet. We eat them constantly – while watching a movie, while we’re with friends or just between meals. However, eating the right snacks can actually improve your health!
Hummus, for example, is a healthy and natural snack. It’s a delicious, creamy spread that includes chickpeas. It actually got its name from the Arabic word for chickpeas. Hummus is very popular in North Africa and the Middle East.
Egyptians have been using it from the 13th century, and today, it is a part of many healthy diets around the world. In Israel, hummus is a part of the common diet, and its addition into yours could mean lower risk of cancer and heart diseases.
Hummus contains numerous essential nutrients such as chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and herbs. You can also add parsley to your homemade hummus.
It is considered a healthy snack because it contains healthy fats, fiber, iron, zinc, manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, betaine, choline, vitamin A, B, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E and K, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Here’s a nutrition chart for a cup of hummus:
Nutrient Amount Daily Value
Calories 435 22%
Carbohydrates 49.5g 16%
Fiber 9.8g 39%
Protein 12g 24%
Total Fat 21.2g 33%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids 182mg N/A
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 5005mg N/A
Vitamin A 30 IU 1%
Vitamin C 19.4mg 32%
Vitamin K 7.4mcg 9%
Folate 145mcg 36%
Vitamin B1 0.2mg 15%
Vitamin B2 0.1mg 8%
Vitamin B3 1.0mg 5%
Vitamin B5 0.7mg 7%
Vitamin B6 1.0mg 49%
Zinc 2.7mg 18%
Iron 3.8mg 21%
Manganese 1.4mg 70%
Magnesium 71.3mg 18%
Potassium 426mg 12%
Selenium 5.9mcg 8%
Calcium 121mg 12%
Phosphorus 271mg 27%
Copper 0.6mg 28%
10 reasons to eat hummus every day
The nutritional profile of hummus makes it an ideal choice for a snack. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should eat hummus every day:
Fiber and other nutrients in hummus are great weight loss stimulants. They will regulate your blood sugar levels and reduce your cravings, lowering the risk of obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and hyperglycemia.
Lowers the risk of cancer
The chickpeas in hummus lower the risk of some cancers such as colorectal cancer due to their ability to protect the digestive system from toxins and dangerous bacteria. Chickpeas contain protease inhibitors, phytic acid and saponins which are powerful anti-cancer agents.
Hummus is a great protein source
Only a cup of hummus contains 12 gr. of protein which accounts for 24% of your daily recommended protein intake. The combination of chickpeas and tahini will also make vegans and vegetarians happy.
Chickpeas have the ability to lower cholesterol. According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a chickpea diet reduced cholesterol in 45 people aged 30-70. The olive oil in hummus can fight inflammation and manage the good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
Hummus is great for digestive health
The fiber content of chickpeas improves your digestive system by stimulating proper bowel movements and preventing constipation. Drained chickpeas contain insoluble fiber that is tolerable to patients suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and other digestive problems. Until it reaches the colon, insoluble fiber stays undigested. According to studies, bacteria in the colon will metabolize chickpea fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which will fuel the intestinal wall lining.
Inflammation occurs when the body flushes out toxins. Hummus can reduce inflammation in the body and treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Some of the contents of hummus such as olive oil, chickpeas and garlic have anti-inflammatory properties, and according to a study published in the Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica journal, the anti-inflammatory properties of chickpeas lower inflammatory markers.
Another study published in 2013 in the British Journal of Nutrition suggested that olive oil reduces inflammation in the body and increases the levels of the good (HDL) cholesterol.
Great for bone health
Tahini, one of the main components of hummus, contains sesame seeds, which have bone-strengthening minerals such as selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium and copper. Chickpeas also contain vitamin K, zinc, magnesium, manganese and calcium.
Zinc is great for your bone health and it can prevent osteoporosis and other bone health conditions.
Improves your cardiovascular health
According to a 2004 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, olive oil can affect your blood pressure. It will also improve glucose metabolism and lower the levels of the bad (LDL) cholesterol, while studies have shown that the powerful antioxidant properties of chickpeas lower the risk of heart diseases.
Eating hummus regularly can boost your energy levels. Chickpeas are a complex carbohydrate and are used as an energy source by the body. These carbs take longer to breakdown, and release energy over time without increasing your blood sugar levels. The main symptoms of hyperglycemia are weakness, fatigue and tiredness.
Hummus is a part of the common Mediterranean diet
This healthy snack is a part of the Mediterranean diet. According to studies, this diet can prevent Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, obesity, muscle weakness, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
Basic healthy hummus recipe
Store bought hummus is easily available, but it’s best if you prepare this snack at home. It’s not a difficult task, and it won’t take much of your time. All you need is a few ingredients and a blender. Here’s how to prepare it:
First, drain the chickpeas or cook them for an hour if they’re dry. Put them in a pot of water, then bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the chickpeas from the heat and let them soak in the water for an hour. In the end, drain the chickpeas and rinse them well with water.
For the hummus, blend all the ingredients together and add olive oil or water to achieve your desired consistency.
Hummus recipe alternatives
Some people have problems digesting chickpeas – if you’re one of them, replace the chickpeas in the recipe with 2 cups of peeled and chopped zucchini and half an avocado. Add a tablespoon more olive oil for better flavor. You can store zucchini hummus in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Besides zucchini, you can use sweet potatoes, black beans, red roasted peppers, curry, jalapeno or cilantro as chickpeas replacement. If you add eggplant, you will make a nice baba ghanoush. Hummus is best enjoyed with fresh veggies.
- 2 cans of chickpea beans or 2 cans of cooked sprouted chickpeas
- ¼ of a cup of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ of a cup of tahini
- 1 peeled garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- Grey Celtic sea salt
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