Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.) are a type of legume in the same family as kidney beans and peanuts. They’re also called garbanzo beans. They have a buttery, nutty flavor and creamy texture. In the U.S., we often see the Kabuli variety, which is tan, round, and slightly larger than a pea. In the Middle East and India, the Desi variety is more common. These are smaller, darker, and less round than Kabuli chickpeas.
The earliest known use dates back to 3500 BC in Turkey and 6970 BC in France. Today they’re grown in more than 50 countries. India produces more chickpeas than any other country in the world.
What Chickpeas Can Do for You
They help control blood sugar. Both canned and dried chickpeas have a low glycemic index. This means that your body absorbs and digests them slowly. Also, they have a type of starch that digests slowly, called amylose. Both of these things help keep your blood sugar and insulin from going up too fast. This is good for people with diabetes.
They help with digestion. Chickpeas are high in dietary fiber, especially a soluble fiber called raffinose. The good bacteria in your gut break this down so your colon can digest it slowly. Studies have found that eating more chickpeas can help make bowel movements easier and more regular.