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The Health Benefits of Garbanzo Beans

Updated on March 28, 2015
anglnwu profile image

A certified health and wellness coach, I love discussing food, health benefits and how to keep weight in check,

Garbanzo beans are delicious

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courtesy of

I look forward to the sound of the soft peddling of my favorite guy in town—the snack man on his rickety clunk of a bicycle, making his afternoon rounds. Very much like today’s version of the ice-cream truck but in Singapore, it would a fortune to keep the ice-cream from melting. So, instead, they sell snacks that can take a lot of heat and even rain. Like nuts for instance.

I can spot him, his bright orange turban first, huffing under the weight of his contraption, an ingenious rack of snacks pigeon-holed in various containers and I ran as fast as I can. A smile flying off my face as I hurried home to pester my mom for some money.

Some money to buy my favorite snack—boiled Garbanzo beans.

My “Kachang Puteh" (roughly translated, it means cooked beans and nuts) man smiled. Deftly, he whipped a piece of paper and transformed it a cone to fill with beans as I stood to his waist, surveying his assortment of snacks while he asked me about my day.

With my cone of boiled garbanzo beans, I retreated to my hideout to enjoy my savory snack and book. Perched on a branch of giant Rose apple tree, I couldn't care less what my annoying brothers were up to.

Little did I know that Garbanzo beans hold such nutritional promise or did I know about the rich history surrounding this unassuming pudgy comma of a bean.

A name by any other name

Garbanzo beans look like little ram’s heads, hence the Latin name, “Cicer grietinum.” It turns out that garbanzo beans also masquerade in other names depending on the source: chickpeas, Bengal grams and Egyptian peas.

Garbanzo beans don't just come in beige or light tan, they dazzle in a variety of colors: black, green red or brown.

The Big Picture

Garbanzo beans belong to a class of plants known as legumes or pulses. For their size, they tower in terms of nutrition: they yield good amounts of Molybdenum, manganese, folate, fiber, tryptophan, protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron. And absolutely no cholesterol!

A Little Bit of History

Garbanzo beans may the one of the oldest cultivated beans, dating as far back as 5400 BC. They were first cultivated in the Mediterranean basin around 3000 BC and gradually found its way to India and Ethiopia.  Subsequently, they gained popularity among the Greeks and Romans too.

Today, India supply about 80 to 90 percent of the world’s garbanzo beans. Other commercial producers include Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia and Mexico.

Garbanzo Bean’s Nutritional Profile

Garbanzo beans are gems of fiber and nutrients. If all the different types of beans were to have a nutritional content competition, garbanzo beans will give the other beans a run for their money. Look at its nutritional profile, courtesy of Nutrition Data.

Garbanzo Bean's Nutritional Profile

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courtesy of

Heath Benefits

What can garbanzo beans do for you? Plenty, according to different researches on this ancient bean.

Lower cholesterol and promotes digestive health.

Most beans are full of fiber, whether it be soluble or insoluble. Garbanzo beans are rich in both types of fiber. Soluble fiber forms gel-like substances and trapped bile (contains cholesterol) and then escort them out of the body. This helps to lower cholesterol level.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, promotes digestive health by preventing digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Of course, it has already established itself as a constipation aid, but it’s worth mentioning again.

Promotes Heart Health

Together with fiber, garbanzo beans also boost high levels of folate and magnesium. These two nutrients offer protection against cardiovascular diseases. Folate lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid produced in the body. Elevated levels of homocysteine can damage the lining of arteries and increase risks of blood vessel blockages, both implicated in cardiovascular diseases. According to Family Doctor, garbanzo beans are rich in folate and vitamin B6.

How about the 85 percent of magnesium found in one cup of garbanzo beans? Surely, there are for a reason. Indeed, magnesium has many proven health benefits, among them—it puts a check on cardiovascular disease. Magnesium’s health benefits are documented in 5732 reports by PubMed.

Stabilizes Blood Sugar Level

If you’re a diabetic riding the highs and lows of blood sugar levels, you may be pleased to know that garbanzo beans with its rich supply of soluble fiber can help balance out blood sugar levels. Since it takes longer to digest fiber, garbanzo beans provide a steady, slow-burning form of energy. No more spikes, no more dips.

Weight Control

If ever there is a super multi-tasker, then fiber comes to mind. The high fiber found in garbanzo also induces the feeling of satiety (promotes feelings of fullness), thereby reducing the need to eat unwanted calories.

Antioxidant Effects

Although colorful fruits and vegetables are known for their high levels of antioxidants, garbanzo beans can hold its hold in this area as well. Molybdenum features prominently in garbanzo beans .Molybdenum is an antioxidant and an essential component of the enzyme systems. It enables the body to effectively use iron, an important source of energy. Molybdenum can do more: it can reduce symptoms of allergy, helps impotence in men, fights tooth decay and irritability and prevent anemia.

How To Make Hummus from Chickpeas

Now, that you’ve the 411 health tips about Garbanzo beans, the only thing left to do is to include them in your diet.

Eat Them!

Due to its long history of dietary use, garbanzo beans are well-tested in the world of culinary arts. They are versatile and forgiving, especially if you’re new to garbanzo beans. Whether they lend flavor or blend in to enhance flavors, garbanzo beans are the main ingredient in hummus, falafel, curries and many Middle Eastern dishes. They can also be made into a coffee-like drink if they are roasted.

As for me, I love them in my salads, soups, curries and hummus. And of course, I love them boiled with some salt, just like the ones I used to have as a child.

How to Make Falafel

Tips for Preparing Garbanzo Beans

The easiest way is to buy canned garbanzo. All you have to do is drain off the liquid and viola, you’ve ready to use garbanzo beans. But if you like to prepare everything from scratch, cos you’re a culinary maverick, then “soak” them. Soaking them in water reduces the amount of raffinoise-type oligosaccharides (sugars causing flatulence), so you don’t have to worry about the “gassy” aspects of it.

Here are two ways to do it.

  • Boil beans in water for two minutes. Turn off heat, cover and leave it for two hours or
  • Soak them overnight in the fridge, so they don’t ferment during the process.

In both cases, skim off any skin that floats to the surface, drain liquid and rinse in clean water.

All that’s left to say is ENJOY!

The copyright to this article is owned by Angeline Oppenheimer. No part or parts of the article may be republished without the permission of the author.


Submit a Comment

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 5 years ago

    Michelle, me too. Glad you like them. Thanks for commenting.

  • Michelle Keiper profile image

    Michelle Keiper 5 years ago

    I love Garbanzo beans and they are so good for you. I'll have to check out the recipes.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Thanks, Imchemist!

  • ImChemist profile image

    ImChemist 7 years ago

    Wow , i like your great hub its very informative.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Vera, I love hummus and falafel! I make hummus quite a bit but I've yet to try falafel. Thanks for visiting--i always love to hear from u.

  • ReuVera profile image

    ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

    Aha, garbanzo beans ARE from the Mediterranean area..... The are even called there "humus", even in their whole shape. I love-love-love hummus. With a dash of red pepper and some olive oil, with warm pita. I love falafel too. They call falafel a national Israeli food, like spaghetti for Italy, and the like.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Sparkle, love your name! You've a smart kid on your hands. My daughter hates vegs with passion but she'll eat edamame--go figure. I think peeling the pods make it seems like a game. Thanks for dropping by with your kind comments.

  • Sparkle Chi profile image

    Cate 7 years ago from Chandler, AZ

    What a wonderful childhood memory to share! Thank you! I have always loved garbanzo beans also, and my youngest will sit and eat them with me any day of the week, even though he knows they are healthy! ;-)

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Gillian, you're very welcome. I'm glad to be able to help. OK, that's one to deal with it. But you don't have to be afraid of them--the more you eat them, the more your body will adjust to breaking down the sugars and carbohydrates found in these "gassy" vegetables. Also, I've been told, it's normal to have 15 times of "gas" a day. LOL and shh....Thanks for checking back!

  • profile image

    Gillian from Singapore 7 years ago

    Thanks anglnwu, for taking the trouble to find out for me. Much appreciate. Anyway, I have stopped eating french beans and long beans, and have started on radish, green carrots and other root vegetables to eat. These do not cause smell. I think you're really nice to help people and I hope to continue reading your posts.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Hey Gillian, thanks for dropping by. I'm afraid I'm not sure how this problems can be solved. For dried beans, soaking it overnight helps. For fresh beans, there are many advice out there but I don't know if it works. Some say that the more you eat, the less "gas" you get. Some suggest taking "beano." Anyway, if you want more candid answers, check this out:

  • profile image

    Gillian from Singapore 7 years ago

    Thanks anginwu for this write-up about beans. I love to eat French Beans, Long Beans, etc but they give me such smelly flatulence !!! It's so embarrassing !!! Please tell me what I should do to countereffect this smelly flatulence because the beans that I love give me such side-effects.'s embarrassing even to post this.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Maita, so good to see u again. I haven't tried the sweet ones yet, maybe, some day. Thanks again for dropping by.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image

    prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

    very good hub, I love gartbanzo (specially the sweet ones) and they also sell this in The Philippines with corn etc, How are you my angel? Take care, Maita

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    prasetio, so good to see you and I value your comments. Thanks for rating it up.

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

    My friend, I never know about this before. I learn much from you. This is really useful for us. I can't say anything. Thumbs up for you. Good work, anglnwu. I rate this hub.


  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Pamela, thanks. I miss my hideout, come to think of it. And my garbanzo beans, of course. thanks for linking my hub to yours--what an honor. I should make you my link pal since we both write about similar things. Will definitely consider that on my next hub. :)))

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Sandyspider, I'm with you--let's dig in. thanks for coming by again and I appreciate your visit each time.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    lelanew55, glad you stopped by. We're both chickpea fans. Happy you like the hub. Please stop by anytime.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Anginwu, I love the story of when you were young also. This is a good hub and I am going to link it to mine on cheese. Thanks for the information.

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    Nice story of you eating the beans when you were young. The intro picture is good enough to eat.

  • lelanew55 profile image

    lelanew55 7 years ago

    Anglnwu, you wrote about one of my favorite foods.In Ethiopia we also eat boiled and roasted chick peas and I love them. I enjoyed the hub a lot. Thank you

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Money, always happy to see you. Give it another try, you'll may like it this time. Hummus can be lovely with pita bread and falafel is a good alternative to meat. Thanks for rating it up!

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    Amber, thanks for dropping by. I love the good old days. Enjoy them, they are so good.

  • Money Glitch profile image

    Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

    Great info anglnwu, I haven't tried garbanzo beans in years because I never could acquire a taste for them (probably was not prepared, correctly). Anyway now that I'm becoming a health nut, will have to give them a try again. Thanks for sharing. Rating up! :)

  • Amber Allen profile image

    Amber Allen 7 years ago

    Hi anginwu

    I loved your story about eating garbanzo beans when you were young. I definitely need to make an efforrt to eat more of these beans.