The chickpea or chick pea (Cicer arietinum) is a legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Its different types are variously known as gram or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean, and Egyptian pea. Chickpea seeds are high in protein. It is one of the earliest cultivated legumes and 7500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.
Chickpea is a key ingredient in hummus, chana masala, and can be ground into flour and made into falafel. It is also used in salads and soups. The chickpea is important in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and in 2016, India produced 64% of the world’s total chickpeas.
The name “chickpea” traces back through the French chiche to cicer, Latin for “chickpea” (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). The Oxford English Dictionary lists a 1548 citation that reads, “Cicer may be named in English Cich, or ciche pease, after the Frenche tongue.” The dictionary cites “Chick-pea” in the mid-18th century; the original word in English taken directly from French was chich, found in print in English in 1388. In neo-latin (modern Italian) it is known as a “cece” (CHAY-chay) in the singular, and “ceci” (CHAY-chee) in the plural.
Domesticated chickpeas have been found in the aceramic levels of Jericho (PPNB) along with Çayönü in Turkey and in Neolithic pottery at Hacilar, Turkey. They were found in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BC) at Thessaly, Kastanas, Lerna and Dimini, Greece. In southern France, Mesolithic layers in a cave at L’Abeurador, Aude, have yielded wild chickpeas carbon dated to 6790±90 BC.
Chickpeas are mentioned in Charlemagne’s Capitulare de villis (about 800 AD) as cicer italicum, as grown in each imperial demesne. Albertus Magnus mentions red, white, and black varieties. Nicholas Culpeper noted “chick-pease or cicers” are less “windy” than peas and more nourishing. Ancient people also associated chickpeas with Venus because they were said to offer medical uses such as increasing sperm and milk, provoking menstruation and urine, and helping to treat kidney stones. “White cicers” were thought to be especially strong and helpful.
In 1793, ground-roast chickpeas were noted by a German writer as a substitute for coffee in Europe. In the First World War, they were grown for this use in some areas of Germany.They are still sometimes brewed instead of coffee.
13 Amazing Benefits
1. Prevent Diabetes
Chickpeas have a high amount of soluble fiber which helps regulate blood sugar levels by optimizing digestion. They can prevent the development of diabetes by ensuring normal levels of insulin and blood sugar and help people manage the condition.
2. Weight Loss
Garbanzo beans with their high density of nutrients, combined with the dietary fiber, are perfect for people trying to lose weight. The fiber helps the body feel full for longer, by interacting with ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and inhibiting its release to some degree. The blend of nutrients and minerals also keeps the body energized and active, preventing fatigue and snacking between-meal. This makes chickpeas great for reducing overall caloric intake, because you simply don’t feel hungry, despite the 270 calories per cup of chickpeas.
3. Improve Digestion
The high levels of dietary fiber found in chickpeas can help to bulk up your stool. This keeps your bowel movements regular while eliminating inflammation, cramping, bloating, and constipation. This can also improve absorption of nutrient digestion and ensure that you’re making the most of the nutritional value of your food.
4. Boost Heart Health
Our cardiovascular health gets a boost in two different ways from garbanzo beans. First, the high levels of soluble fiber help to balance cholesterol levels and aid in preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Second, this legume can also reduce the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. Furthermore, the only fats that are found in garbanzo beans are omega-3 fatty acids, which are the beneficial polyunsaturated fats that help protect the heart and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
5. Good Source of Protein
Chickpeas are an important source of the proteins needed for growth and development, as well as proper healing and repair throughout the body. They are an ideal option for vegetarians who want to ensure they have the proper nutrient intake. However, one should not rely on chickpeas as a sole source of proteins. A balanced protein intake is advised.
6. Rich Source of Antioxidants
The antioxidant compounds found in chickpeas include polyphenols, phytonutrients, beta-carotene, and key vitamins. These reduce oxidative stress in the body and prevent chronic diseases. Antioxidants seek out free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism, which can cause healthy cells to mutate. These antioxidants can help protect the body from cancer, coronary heart diseases, macular degeneration, and even cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
7. Strengthen Bones
Garbanzo beans being rich in iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and zinc are exceptionally good for bone health. Many of those minerals are essential to improve bone mineral density and prevent age-related conditions like osteoporosis.
8. Prevent Genetic Defects
Folate is an important B-vitamin for many different reasons, especially for women. Low folate levels are closely associated with neural tube defects and other complications with the birth of children. Adding folate-rich chickpeas in the diet during pregnancy is a delicious way to ensure baby’s healthy delivery.
9. Maintain Blood Pressure
One of the key ways to maintain low blood pressure is to go for a low-sodium (low-salt) diet. Garbanzo beans being naturally low in sodium help in lowering high blood pressure.
10. Lower Inflammation
Choline in chickpeas is a macronutrient that plays a vital role in the body’s ability to fight chronic inflammation. It also regulates your sleep cycle, increases the range of movement in the muscles, as well as boosts learning and memory.
11. Prevent Hair Loss
Owing to their high protein and iron content, chickpeas can act as a wonderful natural supplement for those experiencing hair loss. These beans are also rich in vitamin A, B, and E, along with omega 6 fatty acids, all of which improve scalp health and boost blood circulation.
12. Boost Eye Health
Intake of chickpeas on a regular basis can boost your eyesight. They are a good source of zinc and vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and E, all of which help protect vision.
13. Skin Care
The presence of manganese in chickpeas enhances skin health and keeps the formation of wrinkles and fine lines at bay. Essentially, manganese prevents wrinkles by reversing the damaging effect of free radicals. This legume also contains the element molybdenum, which eliminates sulfites, providing a detox effect on the skin. Other vital nutrients like folate, zinc, and vitamins repair UV damage and toxin overload while keeping the skin supple and glowing.