Everything you need to know about the nutritional value and health properties of chickpea flour
Along with the development of awareness of the importance of healthy eating in everyday human life, an increasing selection of products belonging to the group of healthy food appears on store shelves. One such product is chickpea flour. For hundreds of generations, it has been one of the main elements of Indian cuisine, as well as countries in the Mediterranean region. No wonder, because chickpea flour is not only tasty, but also full of valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It is a perfect complement to a vegetarian diet, and can also contribute to the improvement of our health and everyday well-being.
What distinguishes it and what ingredients was the chickpea flour made of?
Chickpea flour has been an integral part of Indian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine for centuries. Nevertheless, every year it is also gaining more and more popularity among people who value a healthy eating style. This product is mostly made from dry grains of wholesome chickpeas (legumes). Chickpea flour differs significantly from traditional wheat flour, and even corn flour, or that obtained from nuts. It is much heavier and has a compact structure. Interestingly, raw chickpea seed flour has a characteristic and for some unpleasant smell. Fortunately, with the heat treatment process, it becomes completely odorless and its taste is extremely delicate. It is worth knowing that there are two types of chickpea flour on the market. The first is obtained by grinding the dry grains of this legume. The second type is made by grinding previously roasted chickpea seeds. As a result, it becomes possible to remove unpleasant bitterness and characteristic smell.
Chickpeas, from which nutritious flour is made, belongs to the legume family. In the first place, its appearance may remind us of pea seeds. Therefore, many people call it chickpea. Although today chickpeas are an easily available product, they actually come from the West Asia region. India is considered the largest producer of this plant in the world. Nevertheless, in Europe we can also find a few chickpea crops. However, it is worth remembering that it is thermophilic. Therefore, it requires special conditions for growth. Currently, we can recognize several species of chickpeas. In Europe, the most used variety is "kabula", which is creamy in color and has large seeds.
Chickpeas, like other legumes, are an excellent source of valuable nutrients. We find it primarily large amounts of protein, unsaturated fatty acids and carbohydrates. Moreover, it is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Interestingly, chickpeas are also a treasury of valuable vitamins and minerals. It is able to provide our body with large amounts of vitamin A, B vitamins (including folic acid), vitamins C, E and K. Additionally, in small chickpea seeds and flour produced from it, we can find large amounts of zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, sodium, calcium and iron.
Chickpea flour - health properties and impact on human well-being
Due to the content of valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals, introducing chickpea flour into a balanced diet can help improve our health and everyday well-being. At this point, antioxidants that help reduce free radicals in processed foods deserve special attention. Moreover, these compounds are responsible for reducing the risk of developing inflammation, and most importantly, they contribute to the reduction of acrylamide. This chemical compound is considered to be one of the factors in the development of neoplastic diseases. The high content of fiber, hidden in the composition of chickpea flour, also contributes to the prevention of cancerous health disorders. This component is responsible not only for maintaining normal bowel function and maintaining an appropriate bowel rhythm, but also significantly reduces the risk of cancer development in the colon.
Interestingly, the potassium, magnesium, unsaturated fatty acids, fiber and polyphenols contained in the chickpea flour contribute to the protection of our circulatory system. The introduction of this product to a balanced diet helps to maintain normal blood pressure, as well as lowering the level of triglycerides and "bad cholesterol" in the blood. Our circulatory system is also perfectly influenced by vitamin K contained in chickpea seeds. It is responsible for the proper blood clotting process. The rich iron content is also important. This element contributes to the prevention of anemia as well as prevents excessive bleeding and the feeling of weakness during menstruation.
Chickpea seed flour is an excellent part of the diet of people struggling with the problem of troublesome constipation. The insoluble fiber fractions contained in the seeds of this unusual legume are responsible for the absorption of excessive amounts of water in the intestines, thereby increasing the volume of the stool and improving its consistency. In addition, chickpea flour helps to bind excess hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is why it can also alleviate pain in the case of people struggling with the problem of acidity or acid reflux.
It is also worth knowing that chickpea flour has a relatively low glycemic index, and the fiber it contains is responsible for the stabilization of blood glucose levels. Therefore, this product can be a valuable element in the prevention of insulin resistance and type II diabetes. However, it should be remembered that if we want to get all the best from chickpea flour, we should introduce it to a balanced menu and an active lifestyle.
Meatless diet and chickpea flour
Both the vegetarian and vegan diets are enjoying increasing popularity, not only among the younger generation. No wonder, after all, this diet is not only good for our health, but also for the environment. However, you should know that following the recommendations of a meat-free menu can be dangerous and is often associated with a deficiency of valuable vitamins and nutrients (including proteins). Therefore, it is so important to introduce a large amount of ingredients from the seeds of legumes, which are high in vegetable protein, into your diet. One such ingredient is chickpea flour. This product, in addition to the high protein content, is also able to provide our body with significant amounts of B vitamins, iron and magnesium. Interestingly, chickpea flour (due to its high protein content) is often called "meat flour". Therefore, it is worth introducing it to the diet of people who give up eating meat and animal products on a daily basis.
Contraindications for consuming chickpea flour
Consuming chickpea flour is, in most cases, safe for our health. Nevertheless, there are some contraindications associated with its use. First, this product may be responsible for causing gas. Therefore, people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome should not consume it. Second, chickpea flour is not recommended for people diagnosed with gout and / or kidney stones. Third: this raw product is extremely difficult to digest. Therefore, it cannot be eaten before heat treatment. It is also worth knowing that chickpea seeds (like other legumes) may be responsible for causing allergic reactions. Therefore, chickpea flour should be introduced into your diet gradually, while observing your body's reactions. However, in the case of side effects, you should see your GP or allergist as soon as possible.