The chickpea, also popularly known as chana or Bengal gram, is an edible legume that comes from the Fabaceae family and the Faboideae subfamily. The Bengal gram can grow to about 20 inches in height and its seedpod contains about two or three peas. The plant has white coloured flowers decorated with pink, violet or blue veins.
The most common type of chickpea is round and beige, other varieties come in colours such as black, green, and red. Chickpeas are rich in protein, fibre content and also contains key vitamins and minerals. There are many possible health benefits associated with consuming chickpeas such as reducing blood pressure and diabetes, lowering cholesterol as well as promoting bone growth and digestion.
This nutritional legume is available all year round and is easy to incorporate into your diet. Below are some ways this can be done:
* You can go down the traditional Indian route and create all-time classics like chana masala and chole puri.
* If you are health conscious then chickpeas can be tossed with a variety of other legumes and a dash of vinaigrette to create an easy protein-rich salad.
* For those who love to nibble, chickpeas can be mixed with your favourite spices to create a tasty snack.
* Looking to try something different? Then purée the chickpeas with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and tahini to make a quick and tasty hummus.
* If you enjoy having soups for dinner then add a handful of chickpeas to it to increase its nutritional content.
So, try out some of these tips today and remember that 3 heaped tablespoons of chickpeas contribute to 1 of your 5 a day but keep in mind that it is important to follow a balanced diet in order to achieve good health.