Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are the main ingredient in hummus. One cup of chickpeas contains 286 calories and 5 grams of fat. This is relatively low considering when made into hummus, the calories and fat become much lower per serving. Chickpeas have no saturated fat, and no cholesterol. They aid in improving blood sugar levels and help fight cholesterol. They are also high in protein, making them a perfect addition to a vegetarian’s diet or one who would like to cut back on red meat.
Another staple of hummus is tahini. Tahini is a sesame paste that will almost always be found in hummus. It can be omitted or used sparingly according to taste, but it is usually considered a main ingredient. Because it is sesame seed based, tahini does have a high calorie and fat content. In proportion to the amount used in hummus, this fat and calorie content per serving will be low. Tahini, like chickpeas, is a great source of protein, and calcium. The fat contained in tahini is mainly unsaturated fat, rather than the more unhealthy saturated fat.
The remaining ingredients in basic hummus are lemon juice, salt, garlic, and olive oil. Of these, olive oil has the highest fat content, but such a small amount is used, a normal serving of hummus will still remain low in fat. Rmember, olive oil is one of the more healthy of oils. Though considered a fat, olive oil has a high monounsaturated fat content and relatively low saturated fat content. Olive oil helps the body’s heart remain healthy and also aids in regulating cholesterol levels.
So next time you are looking for a tasty, yet healthy dip, hummus is the way to go!