Chickpeas are one of the food grains which is consumed in some form or the other by the people of every province of the country. It is rich in protein and fibre. It is also considered a good source of calcium and phosphorus. Along with strengthening the digestive system, it works to increase immunity and boost metabolism. It also improves the strength of the muscles. In Ayurveda also, based on the nutritional value of Chickpeas, it is used as a medicine for diseases. Eating Chickpeas not only provides energy to the body, but it is also beneficial for controlling weight, cholesterol, diabetes and diseases like headache, cough, hiccups, vomiting.
What are Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are food items with many medicinal properties. Its scientific name is Cicer arietinum. It is an important pulse which is grown all over the world. It is produced the most in India. The Chickpeas plant is 30-50 cm high and with many branches. Its leaves are compound, 2.5-5 cm long. Its flowers are small in size and white, red, pink or blue in color. Its pods are bloated, elliptical, about 1-1.5 cm long and pointed at the top. Each pod contains 1-2, brown, green or white seeds which turns black or brown when cooked. It is cultivated from September to March and the fruiting period is from April to June.
Types of Chickpeas
There are mainly two types of Chickpeas–
Desi Chickpeas is small in size and dark brown in colour.
Chickpea is larger in size than desi Chickpeas. Its colour is light brown which many people also know by the name of Chole.
Benefits of Chickpeas
Controls blood sugar-
Chickpeas play an important role in controlling blood sugar in the body. According to research, Chickpeas reduces excess blood sugar in the body. One of the reasons for diabetes is excessive hunger and Chickpeas works to reduce the appetite. The reason for this is the low glycemic index (the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels), the presence of nutrients like fibre and protein.
Beneficial for the digestive system-
There are many benefits of Chickpeas for digestive health as well. It has high fibre content. Therefore, Chickpeas promotes healthy digestion by curing stomach related problems like gas, constipation, diarrhoea and hard stools etc. According to a report, fibre also reduces the risk of colon cancer apart from conditions like constipation. Therefore, eating sprouted Chickpeass every morning on an empty stomach is beneficial for the digestive system.
Beneficial for weight loss-
Consumption of Chickpeas is beneficial for people suffering from obesity. It has a low glycemic index, which helps in weight loss by controlling excessive appetite. The fibre present in it controls excess obesity by reducing calorie intake. If brown Chickpeas is eaten with the skin, it is slowly digested and does not allow the feeling of hunger for a long time. For this reason, it is beneficial for working out the weight.
Useful in cancer-
According to a study, Chickpeas is helpful in reducing blood sugar and weight to prevent deadly diseases like cancer. According to research, a fatty acid called butyrate is found in Chickpeas which helps protect against colorectal cancer (colon cancer) by suppressing cell proliferation, as well as inducing apoptosis (cell death). In addition, bioactive compounds such as lycopene, biochanin-A and saponins present in Chickpeas are helpful in preventing cancer. However, Chickpeas is by no means a cure for cancer, it is consumed only as a healthy food item to avoid cancer.
Helpful for heart health-
There are many benefits of eating Chickpeas for the heart too. It is rich in nutrients like potassium, fibre and vitamins C and B6. Fibre helps lower cholesterol, which is the main cause of heart disease. According to a study, soluble fibre and potassium present in Chickpeas help prevent heart disease. Also, the folate present in Chickpeas works to keep the heart-healthy. It neutralizes an amino acid called homocysteine, which helps form blood clots.
Effective for bone health-
Chickpeas are rich in calcium which is the most important element for bones. Therefore, it helps in making bones healthy and keeping them strong. The body cannot manufacture calcium, so it has to be supplied through calcium-rich foods. Therefore, eat Chickpeass daily for strong bones.
Beneficial for eyes-
Chickpeas are rich in an element called β-carotene which is beneficial for the eyes. The 'Age-Related Eye Disease Study' has found that β-carotene reduces the risk of AMD (eye disease, in which vision is lost). Apart from this, vitamin C is also found in Chickpeas which is essential for eye health.
Aide in pregnancy-
Chickpeas are also considered beneficial for pregnant women. The biggest reason for this is the presence of folate in it. It is an essential B vitamin that is essential for the health of both mother and fetus. Adequate folic acid before and during pregnancy helps prevent birth defects involving the baby's brain or spine. Apart from this, Chickpeas is rich in nutrients like iron, protein, zinc and calcium. Therefore, it works to nourish the fetus during pregnancy.
Chickpeas are beneficial in increasing fertility-
Consumption of Chickpeas is beneficial in increasing fertility because Chickpeas have a high nutritional value. Also, according to research, aphrodisiac properties are found in it which helps in increasing fertility by helping in overcoming internal weakness.
Benefits of consuming Chickpeas for the skin-
The use of Chickpeas is beneficial in skin related problems because according to research, Chickpeas has antibacterial and antiviral properties which are helpful in preventing skin infections.
Useful in increasing sperm count-
Consumption of Chickpeas is beneficial to increase the sperm count because according to Ayurveda, the quality of strength is found in Chickpeas due to which the internal weakness is cured by the consumption of Chickpeas and it also helps in increasing the sperm count.
Uses of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are available throughout the year and have multiple uses. It is included in the diet in the following ways-
- Chickpeas are roasted and eaten in breakfast.
- It is also used in soups.
- Chickpeas are used for preparing vegetables.
- It is also eaten boiled.
Side effects of Chickpeas
- The use of Chickpeas flour made from Chickpeas is prohibited in Urticaria, obesity and piles.
- To avoid the harm of Chickpeas, it is good to eat them in a balanced quantity.
Where are Chickpeas found and grown?
The main Chickpeas producing states in India are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra. Chickpeas are grown in these states in 95% of the total area. Chickpeas occupy first place in pulses both in terms of area and production.