IS HUMMUS GOOD FOR YOU?
Most people know of and love hummus—the creamy Middle Eastern chickpea dip that’s laced with garlic. In fact, a well-made hummus tastes so good that many people wonder, ‘Is hummus good for you?’ After all, if it tastes delicious, it probably isn’t healthy!
Fortunately, providing you don’t over-indulge, hummus is indeed a healthy food, rich in good-for-you olive oil and heart-healthy garlic.
What is hummus?
Hummus (hommus) is a tasty spread made from chick peas (garbanzos), garlic, lemon juice, tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil and spices. Ancient scriptures show that hummus was popular with Egyptians as early as the 13th century. Today, in many Middle Eastern countries, it is consumed with nearly all meals, and frequently eaten alone for breakfast. Australians are likely to find it in Middle Eastern delis and supermarkets, where it is popularly sold as a party dip.
Hummus heath benefits
The health benefits of hummus are well documented.
Lets’ take a look at the most frequently-used ingredients and the role they
play in your body.
Chickpeas / Garbanzo beans
Chickpeas, along with all beans and peas, belong to
the legume family. Legumes are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar, while insoluble fibre
helps to bulk up the stool, preventing constipation.
Chickpeas are also a source of plant protein, although not as much as often touted. A half-cup contains about six grams. Two-tablespoons of hummus provide between one and two grams of protein. Eating hummus with wholegrain crackers or pita bread boosts its protein content and ensures that the meal contains a full complement of amino acids.
These flavourful legumes also contain iron (a cup contains roughly five grams), beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin.
A staple of Mediterranean cooking and an integral
part of the healthy Mediterranean diet, olive oil has many health benefits.
Known as a monounsaturated oil (MUFA), olive oil appears to help lower total
cholesterol, normalize blood clotting, reduce inflammation and help regulate
blood sugar. All of these effects may reduce your risk of heart disease. Since
inflammation is at the root of the so-called “diseases of aging”—arthritis,
osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer and heart disease—daily use of olive oil may play
a significant role in preventing these conditions.
Also an anti-inflammatory, garlic is well studied
for its healthy effects on the heart. Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants,
garlic has stood the test of time as a superfood that can boost resilience to
Tahini (sesame seed paste)
Another health benefit of hummus, tahini is a Middle Eastern staple that is
rich in vitamins and minerals. These include calcium, magnesium, iron,
potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin and folate.
Research has suggested that tahini is good for the bone strength and that women
of menopausal age in particular can benefit from it. Tahini has also been shown
to reduce LDL cholesterol and improve oxidative stress levelsi.
Lemon juice and paprika
Lemon juice contributes significantly to hummus’ health benefits, as it contains vitamin C. This helps the body absorb the iron present in the tahini and chickpeas.
We have written much on
the health benefits of paprika here. This fragrant red spice possesses both antioxidant and
anti-inflammatory benefits, boosting the nutritional content of hummus.
The overall health benefits of hummus
With all these
healthful ingredients, it’s little wonder that hummus is good for you. Its
fibre content helps both the digestive and cardiovascular systems and it adds
protein and healthy oil to the diet. Its
vitamin and mineral profile, as well as protein content, makes it a healthy
part of every diet.
Vegetarians and vegans will find it particularly helpful in ensuring their nutritional needs are met. Women who experience premenstrual syndrome may also want to consume hummus during the time they normally experience PMS as chickpeas contain vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese, all of which are beneficial for PMS. Vitamin B6, for example, helps to make the neurotransmitter dopamine, and may reduce irritability and depressionii. Magnesium helps prevent water retention and bloatingiii, and manganese has also been shown to reduce depressioniv.
Hummus and weight loss
Is hummus good for
weight loss? and Is hummus fattening? are
questions commonly asked of nutritionists. The answer to both depends on how
much you eat. Using red pepper, carrot, cucumber and celery sticks to dip in
your hummus is a great way to ensure you don’t over-indulge, while adding
greatly to overall nutritional value. Apple wedges also go well with hummus.
Using several nacho chips or pita bread to scoop up mounds of it, is not going
to do your waistline any good. Due to
its oil, fibre, and protein content, hummus is very ‘filling’ and this
contributes to the feeling of satiety.
Other ways to incorporate hummus into your diet:
- Spread on a wrap before adding your favourite filler. Chicken, mayo, apple and lettuce wraps are particularly flavourful
- Spread on a bagel instead of cream cheese
- Spread on top of a chicken, turkey or veggie
Supplements containing vegan protein
Hummus is a moderate source of healthy vegan protein, but what if you require more? Here are a couple of tasty vegan protein sources available from our store and online:
Organics Hemp Protein (Organic Hemp Pea Blend - Vegan Collagen Glow) Beauty
Beauty Berries Hemp Protein is your go-to complete protein blend with whole foods for nourishing your body, skin, hair and nails, helping you glow from the inside out.
This delicious, certified organic, vegan blend of organic hemp protein, sprouted and bio-fermented pea protein and wholesome superfoods is a source of complete protein, zinc, vitamin C, pre and probiotics, and fibre.
With the natural sweetness of berries combined with the smooth, nutty flavour of hemp protein, this luscious blend tastes great and keeps you feeling satisfied.
Amazonia Raw Protein Isolate Natural 1kg
Amazonia Raw Protein Isolateis an organic, raw, prebiotic, dairy-free protein with premium bioavailability.
Formulated with optimum gut health in mind, enhanced with live digestive enzymes and prebiotics to support digestive balance, this unique protein contains almost 80 per cent organic sprouted bio-fermented protein. A blend of 70 per cent golden pea and 30 per cent brown rice has been specifically formulated to provide a complete amino-acid complex.
Takeaways:- Hummus is a blend of healthy ingredients and therefore good for your health- Consumed in reasonable amounts, hummus can play a part in weight loss
- Hummus is versatile and makes a great party dip
i. Effects of Sesame Seed Supplementation on Lipid Profile and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis. doi:10.5681/hpp.2014.012
(vitamin B6) and the premenstrual syndrome: a randomized crossover trial. PMID:
iii. Magnesium Supplementation Alleviates Premenstrual Symptoms Of Fluid Retention. doi:10.1089/jwh.1998.7.1157.
iv. Manganese intake is inversely associated with depressive symptoms during pregnancy in Japan: Baseline data from the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2017.01.016