What is hummus? – Prepared by mixing tahini (ground sesame seeds), garlic juice, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lemon juice and olive oil using a food processor, hummus is a very common dip and spread around the Middle East. Besides being delicious, hummus is an all-around, highly nutritious diet that comes with immense health benefits.
Below are some of the proven health benefits of hummus:
1. Highly Nutritious and Rich In Plant-Based Protein
Eating hummus gives you a lot of pleasure considering that it is loaded with an array of minerals and vitamins. Consuming 3.5 ounces (100gm) of hummus gives you the following amounts of nutrients:
14.3 – Carbs
7.9g – Protein
6.0 g – Fiber
26% of the RDI – Copper
21% of the RDI – Folate
18% of the RDI – Phosphorus
39% of the RDI – Manganese
18% of the RDI – Magnesium
12% of the RDI – Thiamin
7% of the RDI – Potassium
12% of the RDI – Zinc
14% of the RDI – Iron
10% of the RDI – Vitamin B6
What is more exciting about hummus is that for each serving, you are assured of obtaining 7.9g of plant-based protein. In this case, if you are on a vegan diet or vegetarian, then hummus is a perfect choice for you. Protein plays a critical role in our bodies especially when it comes to optimal development, healing as well as an immune system; hence, consuming adequate quantities of the same healthy. More so, the folate, iron, vitamins B and phosphorus contained in hummus make it the most appropriate diet choice for vegans and vegetarians as it is always hard obtaining adequate amounts of these important minerals and vitamins through diet only.
- Contains Ingredients Known To Combat Inflammation
The body employs inflammation as a way of safeguarding itself against diseases, infection or injury. But, at times, inflammation may take longer than expected to subside leading to what is commonly referred to as chronic inflammation which could be a signal of many severe health conditions. Hummus contains various beneficial compounds that could help combat chronic inflammation, and consuming it greatly helps in that course. Olive oil is heavily loaded with antioxidants with various inflammatory health benefits. Particularly, virgin olive oil is rich in the oleocanthal antioxidant type believed to offer more or less the same inflammatory benefits as the normal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Likewise, sesame seeds, a component of tahini, could help ease inflammatory markers within the body such as CRP and IL-6, characterized in inflammatory-related conditions such as arthritis. A number of scientific studies indicate that feeding on a diet loaded with legumes such as chickpeas could also cut down inflammation blood markers.
- Rich in Fiber for Digestive Health and Feeding Of the Good Gut Bacteria
Hummus is rich in dietary fiber for enhanced digestive health. By consuming 100g (3.5 ounces) of hummus, the body obtains 6g of dietary fiber which is equivalent to the recommended daily fiber consumption of 16% and 24% for men and women respectively. The good thing about hummus is that it helps regulate your digestive system, courtesy of the high fiber content. The dietary fiber helps in the softening and adding bulk to the stools making it easier for discharge. Most importantly, dietary fiber provides food to the good bacteria in the gut.
According to one study, including 200g of chickpeas (or related chickpeas components) in a diet for a period of 3 weeks enhanced the development of good bacteria like Bifidobacterium type, while at the same time inhibiting the development of harmful bacteria. The gut bacteria are tasked with the conversion of the hummus-based fiber into butyrate, the short-chain fatty acid. The fatty acid butyrate plays a vital role in the colon cell nourishment and contains numerous health benefits. Findings from a laboratory study indicated that production of butyrate could help reduce colon cancer risks and many other health conditions.
- Low in Glycemic Index; Hence, Could Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Hummus contains various compounds that could help regulate blood sugar levels. The first point to note here is that hummus is mainly created from chickpeas which boast of low GI (glycemic index) levels. GI is actually the scale used to gauge food’s ability to increase blood sugar. Thus, diets rich in GI value are broken down faster and absorbed, leading to a sudden spike and drop in the levels of blood sugar. Contrarily, low GI value foods are digested slowly and absorbed thereafter, resulting in a slower and a more regulated rise and drop in blood sugar levels. In addition, hummus is also rich in healthy fats and soluble fibers.
Soluble fiber and water within the gut mix up to form a gel-like substance. This substance is critically important as it helps to protect the body against blood sugar spikes by delaying sugar supply in the bloodstream. Fats are also vital as they could help delay carbs’ absorption from the gut, thereby offering a slower and a more balanced sugar release into the bloodstream.
For instance, findings from a study have indicated that white bread, as compared to hummus, discharges into the bloodstream 4 times more sugar after a meal even with the same amount of carbs.
- Contains Heart-Healthy Compounds That Could Help Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is blamed for 1 in each deaths occurring across the globe. As such, hummus is loaded with a wide range of compounds that could help lower heart disease risk factors. According to findings from a 5-week long study in which 47 healthy adult participants ate either a diet containing chickpeas or added wheat, the group that fed on more chickpeas exhibited a 4.6% reduced LDL (Bad) cholesterol levels compared to the one that consumed more wheat.
Moreover, in a review regarding 10 studies pitying more than 268 participants, it was concluded that a meal containing high levels of legumes such as chickpeas helped to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 5% on average. Besides, hummus is also known to be rich in heart-healthy fats derived from olive oil.
With all the aforementioned and many more health benefits associated with hummus, you definitely need to include it in your daily diet. However, there is a need for more research to be conducted to help shed more light on the immense benefits associated with hummus.