It has been said that the Middle Eastern delight called “hummus” is an acquired taste.
If that is true, then a lot of American households have acquired that taste with as many as 20% of them having stated they commonly stock it in their kitchens on a regular basis.
For those who enjoy the taste, hummus makes a great dip suitable for crackers, bread and chips. At mealtime, it makes a great compliment for deviled eggs, bake potatoes and as a sauce for meats like chicken and fish.
In fact, there are a lot of things hummus might go well with, but it begs the question is hummus good for you?
The Ingredients for Making Hummus
In order to determine the possible health benefits of hummus, you must first look at the ingredients that go into making this classic dish.
At the core of this product is mashed chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans in many parts of the United States.
After the chickpeas are mashed, you add tahini, oil, lemon juice, a little salt and garlic, mix it well and wallah, you have a delicious spread called hummus ready for use in many of the ways described above. In reality, the chickpeas are rather bland tasting.
However, the mixture of ingredients is what gives the hummus its distinct taste. Of course, you are free to add other ingredients and come up with your own unique version of the dish.
Vitamins and Minerals
All of the above ingredients combine to give hummus its nutritional value, answering the question is hummus healthy?
Based on a serving size of 2-tablespoons, here are the essential vitamins and minerals (including the percentage of the “recommended daily allowance (RDA)) provided by this classic recipe.
- Folate – 6% of the RDA
- Vitamin B-6 – 4%
- Thiamine – 4%
- Phosphorus – 6%
- Magnesium – 6%
- Iron – 4%
- Zinc – 4%
The Health Benefits
Along with these requisite vitamins and minerals, 2-tablespoons of hummus also provides 5 grams of unsaturated fats, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and up to 50 calories. All of these items come together to bring about a nice long list of health benefits.
1. The Circulatory System
The iron found in chickpeas is a valuable component that has blood thinning properties, which helps to prevent blood clots and promotes the steady flow of healthy red blood cells throughout your system.
This is very useful in helping people who suffer from conditions such as anemia or high blood pressure. The iron also helps to breakdown and reduce blood sugar levels, which is critical for the prevention of diabetes.
Finally, chickpeas are filled with isoflavones, which are essential for the lowering of cholesterol.
With all of these combined benefits working to keep your circulatory system healthy, it increases the likelihood you can maintain a healthy heart and prevent strokes and heart attacks in the future.
2. Lowers the Risk of Cancer
Folate is a B vitamin that helps combat many types of cancer such as the colorectal cancers, which are typically caused by carcinogenesis. However, there is a caveat.
The folate can also work to promote the development of these cancer-causing carcinogenesis if taken in high doses over a longer period of time. The key is to enjoy the hummus, but don’t let it become an addiction.
3. Weight Control
Foods that are high in fiber and protein often work well as weight control agents.
While hummus has a fairly high calorie count, the levels of fiber and protein found in small amounts of hummus are sufficient to make you feel full after a meal or snack and help you combat cravings for food later in the day.
The protein and high calorie count work to provide enough extra energy to allow you to lead a more active lifestyle that includes exercise and fitness. Also, the fiber is an important part of helping you maintain a healthy digestive system.
When your digestive system provides you with regular bowel movements, it keeps your system clean, which makes it easier to control your weight.
Finally, the lack of sugar products and relatively low levels of little sodium found in hummus will help to control your calorie intake, which also translates to better weight control.
When all is said and done, hummus is both a tasty food and pretty healthy for the human body. As mentioned above, it is important to practice moderation when eating foods like hummus that have high levels of folate.
If the intake of folate is well-controlled, there really isn’t much about hummus that creates any kind of meaningful health issues for the human body.
In the final analysis, the benefits of hummus far outweigh the possible negative issues, which means hummus is both a tasty delight and a healthy one at that.
- http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/hummus-good-you-1581.html, “Is Hummus Good for You?”, by Jessica Bruso
- http://www.medicaldaily.com/hummus-good-you-6-health-issues-superfood-dip-can-treat-326708, “Is Hummus Good For You? 6 Health Issues The Superfood Dip Can Treat”, By Lizette Borreli