Is Hummus Good Yor 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.

Olive oil

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 bacterial attacks,

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 burger

Supplements containing vegan protein

Hummus is a moderate source of healthy vegan protein, but what if you require more? We recommend hemp protein and pea + rice protein blends as effective vegan protein options. 


i. Effects of Sesame Seed Supplementation on Lipid Profile and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis. doi:10.5681/hpp.2014.012

ii. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and the premenstrual syndrome: a randomized crossover trial. PMID: 2558186 PMCID: PMC1711872

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

Share this article