As per research conducted by Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) chickpeas are high in cholesterol-friendly proteins, phytosterols and soluble fibre, which make them an excellent cholesterol-lowering food. Here are 5 ways in which eating chickpeas can help lower high cholesterol levels.
- Maintains healthy blood sugar level
- Improves digestion
- Reduces blood pressure
- Protects against heart disease
- Aids weight loss
Are Chickpeas Good To Manage Cholesterol?
Chickpeas, also known as Cicer arietinum, are a part of the legume family and are one of the most widely cultivated and eaten foods in the world. These beans are known by many names, including garbanzo beans, Bengal gram and Egyptian peas. Though small in size, these little legumes come with numerous health benefits. The health benefits of chickpeas are as follows-
- Weight loss
- Lowers high cholesterol
- Boosts immunity
- Keeps blood sugars in check
- Aids digestion
- Protects against heart disease
- Increases energy levels
- Builds muscle
Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance which is secreted by the liver into our bloodstream and is responsible for carrying out important functions such as the production of bile, hormones, and vitamin D. There are two types of cholesterol present in our blood, namely LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol).
Certain factors such as an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, constant levels of stress and other related-health disorders could lead to a rise in LDL levels and a decrease in HDL levels. This, in turn, results in excess cholesterol being deposited into the arteries, where it mixes with other substances and leads to the formation of plaque. As this plaque grows, it restricts proper flow of blood and oxygen to vital organs such as the brain and heart and could lead to the occurrence of a heart attack or stroke.
However, the good news is that while certain foods do have the ability to raise bad cholesterol levels, the intake of the right foods could correct our cholesterol imbalance and decrease high cholesterol levels naturally.
Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Chickpeas have a high starch content and therefore do not cause spikes in blood sugars. In turn, this starch is used by the body to control blood sugar and thus protects ones against high blood sugar problems such as diabetes.
Chickpeas are high in fibre and thus facilitate digestion while also treating constipation. This, in turn, helps remove unwanted fluids and toxins from the body. Fibrous foods are great to treat high cholesterol because they bind with the fatty acids in the digestive system and help balance cholesterol levels.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a known cause of high cholesterol levels. Chickpeas contain high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber which helps treat hypertension and lower blood pressure.
Protects Against Heart Diseases
Chickpeas are fibrous food which helps keep the arteries clean and protects against the build-up of plaque. Thus, they help lower the total amount of cholesterol and decrease one’s risk of suffering from heart disease.
Aids Weight Loss
Obesity or being overweight can put one at an increased risk of suffering from high cholesterol. Chickpeas are loaded with protein and fiber which help keep you feeling full for longer and prevent overeating and unhealthy snacking which adds to weight gain.
Side Effects of Chickpeas
While chickpeas do provide one with all the above-mentioned health benefits and also help lower high cholesterol levels, these beans can also have some undesirable side effects. They are as follows:
- Excess build-up of gas
- Stomach cramps
Adding Chickpeas in your Diet
Now that you are aware of the health benefits and cholesterol-lowering benefits of chickpeas, it’s time you included them in your diet. However, keep in mind that excess consumption of chickpeas could lead to unwanted health problems. Thus, instead of consuming chickpeas in the form our your favourite chole puri or tikkis, try our easy and low-fat hummus dip chickpea recipe instead. You could also add chickpeas into your diet by the following ways:
- Substitute your cereals such as rice and chapattis with chickpeas.
- Add chickpeas to your chaat
- Add chickpeas to your vegetable and fruit salads