Garbanzo Beans; Who Knew?

There are many names for these versatile little goodies. They are called garbanzo beans, chick peas, ceci beans, Bengal gram, chana, hummus, and sanagalu.

Many of us are familiar with these waxy little additions to the salad bar at the restaurant. They give a different color, texture, and taste that is welcome to a normal garden salad. But they are so much more.

Garbanzo beans are legumes. Legumes are those wonderful plants that are grown mostly for their food grain seed. Some examples of legumes are peanuts, lentils, beans, carob, clover, mesquite, tamarind, alfalfa, cloves, soybeans, lupins, and peas.

Besides being used for food, legumes are valuable because they replenish the soil where they are grown. They have root nodules that hold symbiotic nitrogen-enhancing bacteria. Used in rotation with other crops the soil will be more productive.

The fruit of the legume is a simple fruit. The fruit develops from a simple flower and opens along a seam. Inside the pod is the fruit.

Garbanzo beans are found all over the world. There are records of recipes using them in ancient times. There have been pottery remnants with remains of the beans on them.

People who do not eat meat use garbanzo beans to add protein to their diets. They can be eaten raw, toasted, in salads, soups, and casseroles. They can be made into hummus, ground into flour, or made into paste for uses in foods.

We are usually familiar with the creamy colored beans. But they come in a variety of colors. The colors are based on the darkness of their pod. Nutritional value differs from one color to another. Usually the darker the bean the more nutrients they have.

Like other legumes, garbanzos are among the best food sources of slowly-digested carbohydrates and resistant starches. Carbohydrates that are absorbed slowly into the blood means that sugar glucose levels will not be subject to sudden rises and falls. That is good news for diabetics and for those who are watching their weight.

Resistant starches are not digested in the upper digestive tract. They are digested in the large intestine which creates healthier bowel cells. The flora in the bowel tend to be more body friendly. This could mean that absorption of minerals like calcium could improve. It might also make the colon resistant to cancers and improve insulin sensitivity.

Remember not to rely on any foods to treat an illness. Always check with your doctor to see if any particular food will be beneficial to you and that it will not cause a conflict with any medications you are taking.

Studies have shown that the fiber in garbanzo beans can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon.It will produce large amounts of short chain fatty cells. These provide fuel to the cells that line the intestinal wall once again lowering the risk diseases including colon cancer and ulcerative colitis.

One hundred grams of boiled garbanzos contains 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 grams is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber, and 8.9 grams of protein. They are a good source of zinc, folate, and dietary phosphorus (more than 100 grams of whole milk).

Further studies indicate that garbanzos help lower cholesterol in the bloodstream. It also provides menopause relief and promotes weight loss.

We know what happens to metal when it is exposed to oxygen. It rusts. Our bodies need anti-oxidants to protect our bodies from oxidation too. The anti-oxidants in garbanzo beans help prevent oxidation of our hearts, lungs, and nervous systems.

Eating garbanzo beans can also help if you are trying to lose weight. They help so you feel more satisfied with your food and stop the craving for a bit more to eat. You will not want that snack a little later either.

Garbanzo beans contribute to increased nitrogen disposal and reduced blood urea concentrations. Eye health can be improved by eating garbanzos.

Even aging in the brain can be affected by eating garbanzo beans. In studies improved motor coordination was seen.

You can find canned garbanzo beans or chickpeas at your supermarket. They will also carry dried beans. You may even be able to find fresh raw beans. All are nutricious but of course fresh is always best.

If you would like some recipes using garbanzo beans there are many to be found on the internet. Just do a search for garbanzo beans recipes.