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Garbanzo beans have other names like Bengal grams and Egyptian peas, which is an indication of its popularity and appreciation. Though the most common type of garbanzo beans appears round and beige, other varieties include colors such as black, green, and red. They have a number of possible health benefits such as discussed below.
Like other legumes garbanzo beans, are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Due to high fiber content and low glycemic index (GI value of 28 – 32), garbanzo beans are excellent for weight loss diets. It increases satiety and reduces appetite, makes you feel fuller for longer time and thereby lowers the overall calorie intake. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like garbanzo beans decreases the risk of obesity and help to maintain healthy weight.
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Garbanzo beans are a good source of protein. Combined with whole wheat or brown rice, they provide adequate protein to the body. It is comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fats.
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People who have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes should consume garbanzo beans which helps to balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Consuming up to one cup of this delicious legume provide blood sugar benefits.
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It is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a enzyme energy production and antioxidant defenses. Research shows that just one cup of garbanzo beans supplies 84.5% of the daily value of this mineral.
Garbanzo beans contain a phytochemical called saponins, which can act as antioxidants. It lowers the risk of breast cancer, protects against osteoporosis and minimizes hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Garbanzos are also rich in iron, which is particularly important for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women.
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The iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K content present in garbanzo beans help in building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Though phosphate and calcium are vital for bone structure, the careful balance of the two minerals is necessary for proper bone mineralization. Manganese, and iron and zinc play crucial roles in the bone matrix formation and for production and maturation of collagen. Adequate vitamin K is important for good bone health, as it improves bone matrix proteins, calcium absorption and reduces urinary excretion of calcium.
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Selenium is an important anti carcinogenic mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables, but can be found in garbanzo beans. It helps in liver enzyme function to detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium prevents inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates. It also contain folate, which is vital in DNA synthesis and repair, thereby preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations at the DNA level itself. Another phytochemical saponins prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading throughout the body. High-fiber intake is associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
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Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in garbanzo beans that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. It also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.
Garbanzo beans contain about 50% of the daily requirement (per cup) of fiber. In addition to this plentiful amount, at least two-thirds of the fiber is insoluble. This insoluble fiber are converted by the bacteria in our colon into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid These helps to keep the colon cells optimally active and healthy, thereby lowering the risk digestive problems and even colon cancer.
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Well with such an exhaustive list of benefits, one must add garbanzo beans to the regular diet!
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