The Health Benefits of Hummus
Hummus essentially is an Arabic and Mediterranean dip or a spread that originated from the Middle East. It is made with chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and tahini, which is a paste made up of sesame seeds. It makes a great dip for vegetables as well as pita bread. It can also be used as a spread for sandwiches.
There are a variety of different ways of making hummus. It can be made with either a dash of lemon, one or many cloves of garlic etc. One thing however stays universal. No matter how you make this dip, it tastes yummy and what is more is that this is one snack that always treats your body well.
As a dish, hummus tends to provide you with protein and a large number of other essential vitamins and minerals. For those of you who are worried about the fat content of hummus, rest assured! While hummus can be high in fat, most of the fat is the unsaturated kind, which is not harmful to your heart.
Hummus as a dish is fast growing in popularity, owing to the easy making procedure, awesome taste and added health benefits. The New York Times reported the growth of the hummus industry from just a $5 million dollar business 15 years ago, to one around $530 million at U.S. food retailers in 2012.
Hummus is extremely rich in Vitamin A, Folates, Vitamin B-6, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and iron. As such, there is no cooking involved in making hummus. You can easily make it at home with the help of a food processor. Also, you can make your own variations by adding ingredients like spinach, olives etc – that can further enhance its nutritional value.
Let us look at some of the health benefits of hummus.
Aids in weight management
Hummus is so rich in proteins that it can help in balancing blood sugar levels. This reduces your hunger cravings as it keeps you full and satiated for longer. The iron content in hummus also helps in boosting your energy levels. As hummus on an average contains only around 25 calories per tablespoon, it can help you when you are on a weight control diet.
Helps to lower cholesterol
Studies have proved that hummus contains fiber which helps in lowering cholesterol.
Helps in reduction of cancer
As hummus contains folates, it can help to reduce the risk of colorectal cancers. The antioxidants in chickpeas, garlic and lemon also help in reducing the risk of colon and stomach cancers.
Helps in reduction of stress
Hummus contains lemon and garlic that have antioxidant properties. These ingredients are known to reduce oxidative stress in the body. They also aid in boosting up the immune system and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria.
Other general health benefits of hummus
Hummus as a whole contains a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids. These are useful for improving intelligence and brain functioning. They also help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Some of the amino acids found in hummus can help in promoting a good night’s sleep and also help in uplifting one’s mood.
The chickpeas in hummus are a great source of fiber. Hence regular consumption of hummus helps you meet your daily dietary fiber needs. This helps in preventing constipation and also helps in keeping the digestive tract healthy by ensuring smooth bowel movements. This also helps in regulating blood sugar levels.
Hummus is normally gluten free and also free from nuts. Hence it is good for people who suffer from allergies.
Tahini which is found in hummus is helpful for maintaining radiant and youthful skin. The manganese found in hummus helps to fight skin wrinkles. The molybdenum that is found in chickpeas helps in detoxing skin. The folates found in hummus help to repair the damage done to the skin by sun, pollution and other toxins.
Hummus is wholesome and filling. People who consume legumes are less likely to be diabetic.
It acts as a low calorie substitute for mayonnaise and other such dips. Hummus contains extremely low levels of sodium.
Hummus helps to lower the risk of heart disease by lowering risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. Tahini paste that contains magnesium is helpful for lowering cholesterol. Garlic has antioxidants and the mono saturated fatty acids in olive oil can together help in improving blood flow through arteries and lowering the risk of arteriosclerosis, which is one of the most common causative factors of heart attacks.
Hummus is rich in folic acid. This helps in the fetus’s brain development and also promotes good health for the to-be mother. It also helps in preventing other birth defects in babies.
The amino acids that are found in abundance in hummus help in building muscular strength and repairing of tissues.
Some health organizations recommend hummus as the weaning food for babies after they have crossed nine months of age, especially in cases where a diet containing animal products like meat or fish is not present. This is helpful especially for vegetarians.
Thus we can see that hummus has a large number of health benefits.
Hummus as a snack is healthy. It is easy to make and extremely convenient to incorporate into almost each and every meal. It is a treasure trove of proteins, vitamins and minerals and serves as a boon especially for vegans, who do not consume any animal and dairy products. It is a great way of making young children try and eat raw vegetables.
Hummus is really good for your health, when it is consumed daily in moderation. It is extremely tasty and at the end, you feel nice about eating it knowing that the yummy hummus that you eat has a lot of nutritional value and health benefit.
So go ahead! Indulge and enjoy!