The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and HummusTaylor C. Wallace 1,*, Robert Murray 2 and Kathleen M. Zelman 31. Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA2. Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA3. Atlanta Nutrition Communications, Atlanta, GA 30062, USACorrespondence: Tel.: +1-270-839-1776Received: 18 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 November 2016 / Published: 29 November 2016
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advocate for increasing vegetable intake and replacing energy-dense foods with those that are nutrient-dense. Most Americans do not eat enough vegetables, and particularly legumes, each day, despite their well-established benefits for health. Traditional hummus is a nutrient-dense dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Consumers of chickpeas and/or hummus have been shown to have higher nutrient intakes of dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron as compared to non-consumers. Hummus consumers have also been shown to have higher Healthy Eating Index 2005 (HEI-2005) scores. This may be, in part, due to hummus’ higher Naturally Nutrient Rich (NNR) score as compared to other dips and spreads. Emerging research suggests that chickpeas and hummus may play a beneficial role in weight management and glucose and insulin regulation, as well as have a positive impact on some markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Raw or cooked chickpeas and hummus also contain dietary bioactives such as phytic acid, sterols, tannins, carotenoids, and other polyphenols such as isoflavones, whose benefits may extend beyond basic nutrition requirements of humans. With chickpeas as its primary ingredient, hummus—and especially when paired with vegetables and/or whole grains—is a nutritious way for Americans to obtain their recommended servings of legumes. This manuscript reviews the nutritional value and health benefits of chickpeas and hummus and explores how these foods may help improve the nutrient profiles of meals.
Health Outcomes Associated with Consumption of Chickpeas and HummusTraditional hummus contains a unique combination of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices that may provide additional benefits beyond satisfying nutrient requirements. While the scientific literature is emerging, several studies support hummus/chickpea consumption in relation to weight control, glucose, and insulin response, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and/or GI health.
Bean consumption has been associated with reduced risk of mortality, although only limited data on this endpoint are available. The Food Habits in Later Life Study followed nearly 800 older men and women for 7 y, during which time 169 participants died (61). Among the 5 populations evaluated, mean legume intake ranged from ~85 g/d in Japan and Greece to a low of only 14 g/d in some segments of the Australian population. Of all of the food groups studied, legumes were the only foods associated with a reduced risk of mortality: the RR was 0.92 (95% CI: 0.85, 0.99) for every 20 g consumed. Dried beans were not assessed separately in this study, although other than in Japan, soybean intake would be negligible among the populations in this survey.
This study was published in 2014 and contains a wealth of information. The online and PDF copies of the study are here.
Because populations in recent decades have adopted more Western-style diets, however, dried bean consumption has seen a decline. For example, between the 1960s and 1990s, dried bean intake decreased by 40% in India and by 24% in Mexico.
Bean consumption down, obesity up. Hmmm……
Vegetarian diets have been associated with atherosclerosis protection, with healthier atherosclerosis risk profiles, as well as lower prevalence of, and mortality from, ischemic heart disease and stroke. However, there are few data concerning the possible cardiovascular effects of a vegan diet (with no meat, dairy or egg products). Vitamin B-12 deficiency is highly prevalent in vegetarians; this can be partially alleviated by taking dairy/egg products in lact-ovo-vegetarians. However, metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency is highly prevalent in vegetarians in Australia, Germany, Italy and Austria, and in vegans (80%) in Hong Kong and India, where vegans rarely take vitamin B-12 fortified food or vitamin B-12 supplements. Similar deficiencies exist in northern Chinese rural communities consuming inadequate meat, egg or dairy products due to poverty or dietary habits. Vascular studies have demonstrated impaired arterial endothelial function and increased carotid intima-media thickness as atherosclerosis surrogates in such metabolic vitamin B-12 deficient populations, but not in lactovegetarians in China. Vitamin B-12 supplementation has a favourable impact on these vascular surrogates in Hong Kong vegans and in underprivileged communities in northern rural China. Regular monitoring of vitamin B-12 status is thus potentially beneficial for early detection and treatment of metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency in vegans, and possibly for prevention of atherosclerosis-related diseases.
Metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency is prevalent in vegetarians and, in particular, in vegans. Those subjects with normal or relatively high salt intake may be associated with unhealthy early vascular changes in function and structure, which have not been well documented in the past. In individuals with subnormal vitamin B-12 status, vitamin B-12 supplementation may significantly improve such vascular changes. Regular monitoring of vitamin B-12 profile may thus be beneficial for early detection and treatment of metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency, and possibly prevention of atherosclerosis-related diseases.
You can download a copy of the full study at this link.
It’s not easy to overcome confirmation bias. So my research often takes me to studies and articles that challenge my firmest held beliefs. This literature review study does confirm one of my longest held beliefs. Some of the sickest people I see are the shoppers in health food stores.
Take some B-12. Or as this study demonstrates get your B-12 from dairy, meat, and fish and shellfish.
Remember this – if you can’t remember you’ve forgotten you have a problem.
Source article here.
And while we’re on the topic don’t forget to exercise.
Or did you forget?
A follow up two years later showed that patients who were unaware of their memory problems were more likely to have developed dementia, even when taking into account other factors like genetic risk, age, gender and education. The increased progression to dementia was mirrored by increased brain metabolic dysfunction in regions vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease.
Higher intakes of yogurt were associated with a 30 percent reduction in risk of myocardial infarction among the Nurses’ Health Study women and a 19 percent reduction in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study men.
In both groups, participants consuming more than two servings a week of yogurt had an approximately 20 percent lower risks of major coronary heart disease or stroke during the follow-up period. When revascularization was added to the total cardiovascular disease outcome variable, the risk estimates were reduced for both men and women, but remained significant.
Higher yogurt intake in combination with an overall heart-healthy diet was associated with greater reductions in cardiovascular disease risk among hypertensive men and women.
Read the source article here.
Conclusions – In this large prospective study, a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer. Further studies are needed to better understand the relative effect of the various dimensions of processing (nutritional composition, food additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants) in these associations.
We categorized all food and drink items of the NutriNet-Santé composition table into one of the four food groups in NOVA, a food classification system based on the extent and purpose of industrial food processing.94243 This study primarily focused on the “ultra-processed foods” NOVA group. This group includes mass produced packaged breads and buns; sweet or savory packaged snacks; industrialized confectionery and desserts; sodas and sweetened drinks; meat balls, poultry and fish nuggets, and other reconstituted meat products transformed with addition of preservatives other than salt (for example, nitrites); instant noodles and soups; frozen or shelf stable ready meals; and other food products made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils and fats, and other substances not commonly used in culinary preparations such as hydrogenated oils, modified starches, and protein isolates. Industrial processes notably include hydrogenation, hydrolysis, extruding, moulding, reshaping, and pre-processing by frying. Flavouring agents, colours, emulsifiers, humectants, non-sugar sweeteners, and other cosmetic additives are often added to these products to imitate sensorial properties of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.
Read the BMJ study here.
Legal-pot purveyors hauled in $11.3 million in revenue last year compared with $10.5 million for liquor stores, marking the first time marijuana sales outpaced booze for the year in Aspen. The figures were provided Wednesday by the city’s Finance Department in its year-end sales tax report for 2017, which showed Aspen’s retailers combined to generate $730.4 million in revenue, 2 percent better than 2016.
Read the Aspen Times article here.