Chickpeas: health benefits and the n.1 tip to reduce bloating

Dried chickpeas

Dry or canned chickpeas are available everywhere and are a great source of plant protein and other nutrients for our health.

Garbanzo beans a.k.a. chickpeas are a staple ingredient for everyone who wants to start eating a whole foods plant-based diet.  Lately legumes and pulses in general have been gaining popularity, due to an increase in health conscious people. More people now know that food is really the best medicine we have on hand every day.

What are the health benefits of chickpeas?

Chickpeas offer a plethora of health benefits, in fact, eating chickpeas as little as twice a week can :
– cut your risk of colon cancer by half,
add years to life expectancy
– reduce your waist size
– improving glucose blood levels 

They also contribute to maintaining a healthier cardiovascular and digestive system, but also a reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Even though it may seem too good to be true, actually it is! Eating more chickpeas can make the difference in your every day life. Bringing you more health and helping you in preventing a lot of diseases.

Side effect of eating garbanzo beans

While eating chickpeas is absolutely healthy, some people may experience a few side effects, especially if they’re not used to eating a lot of fibers. The phytates contained in the outer layer of garbanzo beans can be a bit tricky to digest and cause wind and bloat. Phytates are phytonutrients that, inside the body will bind to minerals and will reduce the bioavailability of nutrients in the body. This, however, should not stop you from eating chickpeas, in fact there are a lot of ways you can reduce the phytates content and stil enjoy a great source of fibers, proteins and good carbohydrates.

For those who do not eat a lot of fibers, adding little quantities of legumes a couple of times a week for a few weeks, can be of great help in reducing the side effects. Once your body is accustomed to more fibers, you’ll be able to eat more without feeling bloated.

The N.1 Tip to reduce bloating: soaking

Soaking  your dried chickpeas for at least 24h (up to 48h) reduce dramatically the phytic acid content. For added benefits, remember to change the water a couple of times a day, then rinse the chickpeas and cook until soft. Changing the water is the key to removing almost all the phytates in the outer layer.

In addition, to further reduce the anti-nutrients compounds, you can:

  1. Sprout the beans
    Sprouting is a great alternative and is an easy way to reduce the phytic acid content along with boosting the nutritional value of your legumes with a huge amounts of vitamins and minerals.
  2. Use Kelp or turmeric
    When boiling dried legumes you can add some kombu kelp or turmeric to the boiling water to reduce the phytates.

If you are buying canned chickpeas you can rinse them well, as a result you’ll reduce the phytic acid and also the salt.

Italian Chickpeas recipes

In Italian cooking chickpeas are widely used in hearty soups. “Pasta e ceci”, pasta with chickpeas is a staple in many households and it’s a super simple and very tasty soup you can enjoy all year long.

Chickpea pasta soup

I personally love beans soups in the winter. You can easily whip up a delicious mid-week dinner with some chickpeas, pasta and just two or three other ingredients.

You can eat a very simple garbanzo beans stir fry with garlic and rosemary. Or simply season boiled chickpeas with olive oil, salt and pepper. You can add them to a salad, use it to make hummus or flavorful veggie burgers.

Chickpeas are also famous in Italy for a typical dish that is made in the northern part of Tuscany and in Liguria. “Cecina” as they call it in Pisa and Livorno, or “Farinata” as they refer to in Genova. You can make this recipe with chickpea flour, olive oil and salt. The key here is to use an iron tray and cook it into a fire oven.

Try to add  a couple of days a week and reap all the amazing benefits they can provide!

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