BEST FOOD FORWARD
WINNER, WINNER CHICKPEA DINNER
We thought we’d ‘chick’ out the chickpea because they have some unique benefits, especially for people living with diabetes. Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas belong to the legume family and like their cousins, they are high in protein, rich in fibre, an excellent source of folate, and a good source of iron, phosphorous, copper and zinc. And to top it off, they have a low GI (40). Their neutral, nutty flavour blends into the background in a smorgasbord of dishes including curries, soups, stews and salads. They are famously used to make hummus, but try them dry roasted with herbs and spices for a crunchy snack.
They can help people living with diabetes by:
- Improving glycaemic control: Research has demonstrated that people who eat 5 cups of chickpeas or other legumes a week have improved fasting blood glucose levels (FBG), fasting blood insulin (FBI) and HbA1c (which reflects the average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months). A great example of what you eat influencing the important numbers discussed in your doctor’s office.
- Reducing obesity risk: Diets that include legumes/pulses help to regulate body weight and reduce obesity risk by improving satiety, or satisfaction after eating. This is great news to achieve the ideal situation of eating fewer calories (kilojoules) but not feeling hungry.
- Reducing CVD risk: People living with diabetes are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Enjoying chickpeas or other legumes daily can help lower your blood cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby reducing these important cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Chickpeas in a nutshell
- Chickpeas and other legumes/pulses are highly nutritious with many health benefits including diabetes management, reduction of CVD risk and weight management.
- Aim to enjoy a serving of versatile beans, chickpeas or lentils every day.
Thanks to Rachel Ananin AKA TheSeasonalDietitian.com for her assistance with this article.
Nicole Senior is an Accredited Nutritionist, author, consultant, cook, food enthusiast and mother who strives to make sense of nutrition science and delights in making healthy food delicious. Contact: You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or check out her website.