If we think of chickpeas, the famous Spanish stew comes to mind, but the truth is that this legume has many more uses and is a very versatile food in the kitchen, so that we can take advantage of all its properties in different ways.
Chickpeas are in the group of legumes, foods rich in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber. “It should be noted that the protein provided by chickpeas is complete, that is, it contains essential amino acids, so we can say that this legume provides us with quality proteins,” says Ana Núñez, nutritionist and dietitian at Nutrición Clinic.
On the other hand, being rich in fiber, it helps us to be satiated, something that will contribute to making our diet healthy and that we do not fall into eating poor quality products. According to the nutritionist, this fiber, in addition, makes chickpeas, and legumes in general, our allies against diseases such as being overweight, obesity, hypercholesterolemia or type 2 diabetes for different reasons: “It contributes to increasing the cholesterol that It is popularly known as good, the HDL type, and to lower LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol). They are a great food for almost everyone: children, healthy adults, people with cardiovascular disease or even people with diabetes. ”
But if chickpeas seem like a heavy meal to you and are noticed in your body every time you take them, there are some tricks to improve your digestion: «Add spices such as cumin, bay leaf or fennel to the recipe; eat them in small amounts; taking them skinless or crushed in the form of hummus or purees or soaking them the day before when cooking them (at least 12 hours of soaking), will improve digestion and make you a lighter meal, “reveals Ana Núñez.
However, there is a group of the population that may not feel quite right, and we are talking about people with some digestive pathology who suffer from bloating, gas or pain, among other symptoms. “If this is your case, the best thing would be for you to go to an expert in the digestive system so that they can diagnose what is happening to you and then your dietician-nutritionist will be able to personalize your regimen,” he recommends.
How many chickpeas to eat per week
The recommendation for consumption of both chickpeas and other foods in their group, legumes, is at least 3 days a week until reaching a daily consumption, but that is something we do not meet … «In Spain we eat little legume , and that we are a country that produces these foods, so I always propose that their consumption be increased, “advises Ana Núñez, adding that in addition to taking care of health, if you choose them of national production, you will be contributing to the local economy as the sustainability of the planet. “They are crops that fix nitrogen to the soil, which acts as a natural fertilizer, reducing the need to use synthetic fertilizers,” he says. As if this were not enough, little water is needed for its production compared to that used to produce foods rich in animal protein, such as chicken or beef.
Cooked or stewed are the dishes par excellence in which the main ingredient is chickpeas, but this very healthy legume can be added to other preparations and obtain the most original and surprising results. For example, have you tried making hummus with chickpeas? And chickpea burger?
Nutritionist Ana Núñez has other recommendations of the most delicious and refreshing so that chickpeas become an indispensable in your kitchen:
Chickpea salad. “In addition to this legume, add sardines in virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, spinach and fresh parsley (vitamin C from parsley will help us better absorb iron from chickpeas),” he explains.
Broccoli sauteed with chickpeas and Greek yogurt sauce with lemon and capers.
Aubergines stuffed with chickpeas, red pepper, carrots and the meat of the aubergines. Put a little cheese and gratin on them.
Chickpeas as a snack: «Special them already cooked with cumin and paprika from La Vera, add a splash of extra virgin olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, says Ana Núñez.
-Chickpeas stewed with squid and fried onion, red pepper and carrot. “With the rest of the stewed chickpeas you can make hummus by adding tahini, garlic, lemon and, if you like, also use cumin or you can make old clothes, a very traditional dish,” recommends the nutritionist.
Chickpea flour: “With this chickpea flour we can make delicious breadcrumbs and even biscuits and rolls,” says Ana Núñez. .