Hummus is a popular dish that originated in the Middle East. It is a spread, dip, or paste made of chickpeas and tahini that is usually eaten with pita or any other flat bread, often during breakfast. It has a texture and consistency similar with peanut butter. This Middle Eastern favorite is widely used in countries like Syria, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon. Its popularity is rooted not only from its delicious taste but also from its great nutritional value.
Several ingredients are used in making hummus but the primary ingredients are chickpeas and tahini. Chickpeas, which are more popularly known as garbanzo beans, are high-protein legumes cultivated in the Middle East since thousands of years ago. Tahini, on the other hand, refers to sesame paste. It has a strong flavor, which is why most people only use this ingredient sparingly. Other ingredients of hummus include lemon juice, salt, fresh garlic, paprika, and olive oil. To make this dish, all the ingredients are simply ground down until they form a smooth paste. Seasonings are added to taste.
1. Health Benefits of Chickpeas
The nutritional benefits of hummus can be rooted down from each of its ingredients. For one, chickpeas are very healthy because they do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fats. They are also rich in protein. This makes hummus a favorite among vegetarians. Chickpeas are also known to be effective in preventing build up of cholesterol in the blood vessels. Apart from that, it can maintain correct blood sugar levels.
2. Nutritional Value of Tahini
Tahini, meanwhile, is full of fat and calories. However, the fact that it is used sparingly in most hummus recipes and that it mostly contains unsaturated fat means there is not much to worry about. Like chickpeas, tahini is also high in protein. Apart from that, it is a great source of calcium.
3. Healthy Ingredients in Olive Oil
Another healthy ingredient found in hummus is olive oil. As most people know, olive oil is a healthy fat. It has high monounsaturated fat content but low in saturated fat. This oil can thus help regulate cholesterol and protect the heart from various diseases.
4. Health Benefits of Garlic and Lemon Juice
Garlic and lemon juice, meanwhile, are filled with antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the body. They also work to improve immune functions and fight of bacteria and viruses.
5. General Health Benefits of Hummus
Hummus as a whole contains plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for improving intelligence and maintaining a healthy heart. On top of it all, this dish also has iron, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, folic acid, and amino acids. Tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine are the amino acids found in hummus that can promote good quality sleep and uplift one’s mood.
Humus is loaded with nutrients that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Include this in your diet by using it as spread on sandwiches and wraps, and as dip for raw vegetables. Over the weekend I used 1 tbsp and spread it over a chicken breast and it was VERY tasty. Give it a try but just like any thing else DON'T OVER DO IT.