Hummus Is Both Healthy & Delicious. Take a Closer Look...

Hummus, a thick creamy food dip made primarily from mashed chickpeas, is both nourishing and extremely versatile - it's filling enough to be enjoyed by itself, or it can be used as a spread in sandwiches or wraps.  

The basic recipe contains 6 healthy ingredients: chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt and tahini, which have been shown to be highly anti-inflammatory, and thus can help lower inflammatory-causing chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.


Still unconvinced? Let's take a closer look at the ingredients and health benefits of hummus:   

The Nutritional Facts

Hummus is packed with nutrients.

A 100g serving contains: 5g protein, 5g fiber, 9g fat, 20g carbohydrates, 13% (RDA*) vitamin c, 20% (RDA) vitamin B6, 15% (RDA) folate, 10% (RDA) iron, 10% (RDA) zinc, 11% (RDA) phosphorus, 28% (RDA) manganese.

*RDA denotes Recommended Daily Allowance.

The chart below provides an in-depth overview of its nutritional facts:

An In-Depth Look at the Ingredients in Hummus
Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are high in plant-based protein and fiber, which improves digestion and aids heart health. They are also exceptionally filling. Additionally, chickpeas are a good source of three nutrients that help reduce symptoms associated with PMS: magnesium, manganese and vitamin B6.  
Olive Oil
In hummus, olive oil is used in its natural state. Research has shown that when heated repeatedly at a very high level, olive oil can oxidize and become hydrogenated. To prepare this recipe, opt for an extra virgin, pure olive oil free from fillers. Olive oil has been found to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and may help prevent strokes. It is also good for the heart. In fact, a diet rich in olive oil may slow down the aging of the heart.
Raw garlic contains an impressive amount of nutrients, including flavonoids (plant compounds found in most fruit and vegetables). Consuming raw garlic frequently has been found to reduce risk factors associated with heart disease and various cancers. Garlic also acts as an anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, and also has a number of other medicinal health benefits.  
Lemon Juice
Lemons are known to have an alkalizing effect on the body, which combats high acidity levels common to most modern diets. Additionally, it helps boost immunity, digestion and helps keep blood sugar levels stable. If you're not keen on their sour taste, the health benefits lemons offer, may just change your mind.
Sea Salt
Traditional hummus uses good quality sea salt to add flavor. Himalayan sea salt, in particular, is a good alternative and has numerous health benefits. It is known to keep fluid levels balanced and to keep you hydrated. Himalayan salt provides sodium levels that help balance potassium intake and they also contain important electrolytes and enzymes that aid in nutrient absorption.
Made of ground sesame seeds, tahini offers a wide range of important micronutrients, from minerals to healthy fatty acids. Studies have shown that sesame seeds contain important beneficial properties, including antioxidant Vitamin E, and can help reduce risks associated with insulin resistance, heart disease and cancer.
While each ingredient on the list has a number of health benefits, they are especially beneficial to the body when combined in hummus. This is primarily due to the way that the fats, carbohydrates and proteins found in hummus work together. Let's take a look:


The Health Benefits of Hummus

1. Hummus is a good source of plant-based protein

The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas, provides a substantial source of protein, enabling you to feel full after consuming it. In fact, you're less likely to snack in between meals due to their satiety effect. As hummus is often eaten with pita bread or other type of whole grain, it offers what is known as a 'complete protein', meaning it contains all the essential amino acids necessary for the body.


2. It helps fight illness and disease

Chickpeas have been shown to help balance cholesterol levels, reduce hypertension and protect against heart disease. Hummus is also a good source of fiber, preventing weight gain and fat around the organs, and has been known to help keep the arteries clear from plaque buildup, reducing the chances of cardiac arrest and stroke. Backing this idea, studies have shown that a daily serving of cooked beans (3/4 cup) can help reduce the chances of a heart attack and help balance 'bad' LDL cholesterol. Chickpeas have also been shown to have protective properties against cancer, particularly colon cancer - primarily because chickpeas have the ability to keep the digestive system and the colon free from harmful bacteria and toxic buildup. The beans found in fiber help keep waste moving out of the body quickly. Furthermore, a diet rich in beans has been shown to reduce hyperglycemia, helping to balance blood sugar levels. Consequently, this decreases the chance of developing diabetes or insulin resistance.


3. It decreases inflammation

Inflammation is the body's natural defense to get rid of toxins. But, when your body has a high level of inflammation, it indicates that your body has been trying to overcome food, environmental or medicinal toxins. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods help in reducing the chance of arthritis and disease, helping to heal the body. Hummus contains both garlic and olive oil, both of which are anti-inflammatory foods. In one study, garlic was shown to reduce inflammation and help fight wrinkles and aging. Garlic has also been used to boost the immune system and cure disease, whereas olive oil has been found to reduce inflammation, promoting healthy cholesterol levels. What's more is that chickpeas have been found to reduce both inflammation and blood clots.


4. Helps digestion and intestinal health

Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber. Consequently, they help foster a healthy digestive system, making us feel full and satisfied for longer. Consuming enough fiber on a daily basis (about 25 to 35 grams) promotes a healthy body weight and decreases the chance of obesity-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and many more.


5. Hummus is high in vitamins and minerals

In addition to protein and fiber, hummus contains a number of essential micronutrients including iron, folate, phosphorus and B vitamins. The lemon juice found in hummus is also a good source of immunity boosting vitamin C and antioxidants. Tahini also has high levels of copper, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus and calcium. Meanwhile, garlic provides the body with manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C and selenium, which has been shown to benefit the heart and boost immunity.


6. Provides bone health

The sesame seeds in tahini are an excellent source of various important bone-building minerals including zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and selenium. The copper mineral found in tahini helps keep the skeletal structure strong by facilitating the binding of collagen to elastin - both of which are important building-blocks of bones. Calcium also helps lower levels of bone marrow loss that is typical of the aging process, and zinc has been shown to be an important factor in bone development and growth.


7. Supports the heart

Diets rich in extra virgin olive oils help prevent cardiovascular disease. Regular consumption of good quality olive oil has been correlated with improving blood pressure levels, glucose, metabolism and has also been found to reduce cholesterol. Alongside olive oil, sesame seeds have been shown to reduce inflammation, provide important antioxidants and play a part in maintaining heart health by keeping the structure of arteries and cell walls healthy.


8. Boosts your energy

Chickpeas contain starch, a complex carbohydrate that the body uses for energy. Starch contains natural sugars called glucose, which the body is able to use steadily for energy. Because starches take an extended period of time to break down, once consumed, your blood sugar does not spike in the same way that simple carbohydrates (flour, white bread, pasta or soda) can cause it to.

How to Make a Delicious Hummus

Hummus is relatively easy to make and can be prepared in under 5 minutes. The recipe below serves 8 to 10 people and can keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Images (including cover) by Deposit Photos.
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