Healthy Eater's Dream Snack!

Happy Humpday Fellow Foodies!
I have decided to move my blog over to a new home. While I will still maintain "The Enlightened Chef", any and all new recipes, and thoughts will be found at "Low Country Larder
As a mom, I try to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep (yadda, yadda, yadda). Usually I only accomplish those three things about 60% of the time, and usually not simultaneously. I am always on the hunt for some kind of snack food that is high on energy and nutrients and low on fat. If you are a  health-minded individual then to you know how challenging this goal can be. We have, in the USA, sold our  very souls to the gods of convenience, and the big food giants. We Americans love our crunchy, salty, soul-satisfying snacks more than any other culture. I am guilty of this love too. What's a mom to do?

After all, it's very easy to just grab a bag of chips, pretzels, etc...when you are busy running errands, taking to precious cargo to soccer, karate, playdates: well-you know!

So the other day, someone I know posted a recipe to Pinterest (I freakin' love that site), that is easy, healthy, delicious, and inexpensive to make. You can make it in big batches and store it in baggies. The best part? There is more than one best part: this is delicious, and nutrient rich, and vegetarian-friendly. The only real drawback is that there is sodium content, but it's a SNACK! Use a little discretion and you'll have not worries.

I did quite a bit of tweaking  from the original recipe at "Being Vegan Eats", but the end result is still just as yummy! What is this magic snack? Here is the answer...

Spicy Garbanzo Snack

1 15.5 oz. can of Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
dash of cayenne (strictly optional)
olive oil, for coating chickpeas
If you are feeling lazy: 1 tsp. Lawry's Season salt, and 1 tsp. smoked paprika instead of above!

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees
Drain, rinse and pat dry the Chickpeas
In medium sized bowl, toss Chickpeas in olive oil
Add spices, coat Chickpeas thoroughly, spread out on a parchment lined sheet pan
Place in the oven for 60-75 minutes.
 

Stir them around every so often to ensure proper browning.

Remove from oven and let cool entirely before eating. You can store them in a zip top bag. If you need to re-crisp them, simply microwave the desired amount for 30-45 seconds. Allow to cool, and dig in!

I keep a little travel container in my car full of these little gems for when I am out running errands all day, and need a pick-me-up!

What's New and Beneficial about Garbanzo Beans

PLEASE click the hyperlink above for the full article.
  • There's now direct evidence about garbanzo beans and appetite! Participants in a recent study reported more satisfaction with their diet when garbanzo beans were included, and they consumed fewer processed food snacks during test weeks in the study when garbanzo beans were consumed. They also consumed less food overall when the diet was supplemented with garbanzo beans.
  • Garbanzo beans (like most legumes) have long been valued for their fiber content. Two cups provide the entire Daily Value! But the research news on garbanzos and fiber has recently taken us one step further by suggesting that the fiber benefits of garbanzo beans may go beyond the fiber benefits of other foods. In a recent study, two groups of participants received about 28 grams of fiber per day. But the two groups were very different in terms of their food sources for fiber. One group received dietary fiber primarily from garbanzo beans. The other group obtained dietary fiber from entirely different sources. The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.
  • In some parts of the world (for example, parts of India), garbanzo beans are eaten daily in large amounts and on a year-round basis. But a recent study has shown that we can obtain health benefits from garbanzo beans even when we eat much smaller amounts over a much shorter period of time. In this study, it took only one week of garbanzo bean consumption to improve participants' control of blood sugar and insulin secretion. Equally important, only one-third cup of the beans per day was needed to provide these blood-sugar related health benefits.
  • Garbanzos are a food you definitely want to keep on your "digestive support" list—especially if you are focusing on the colon. Between 65-75% of the fiber found in garbanzo beans is insoluble fiber, and this type of fiber remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine (colon). Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall. By supporting the energy needs of our intestinal cells, the SCFAs made from garbanzo fibers can help lower your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer.
  • Most garbanzo beans found in the grocery (especially canned garbanzos) are cream-colored and relatively round. This type of garbanzo bean is called the "kabuli-type." Worldwide, there's a far more common type of garbanzo bean called the "desi-type." This second type of garbanzo bean is about half the size of cream-colored type we're accustomed to seeing in the grocery, and it's more irregular in shape. The color is also different—varying from light tan to black. Researchers have recently determined that many of the antioxidants present in garbanzo beans are especially concentrated in the outer seed coat that gives the beans their distinctive color. Darker-colored "desi-type" garbanzo beans appear to have thicker seed coats and greater concentrations of antioxidants than the larger and more regularly shaped cream-colored garbanzos that are regularly found at salad bars and in canned products. Of course, it is important to remember that antioxidants can be found in both types of garbanzo beans and you'll get great health benefits from both types. But if you have previously shied away from darker-colored or irregularly-shaped garbanzo beans, we want to encourage you to reconsider and to enjoy all types of garbanzo beans, including the darker-colored and irregularly-shaped ones.

WHFoods Recommendation

Many public health organizations—including the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society—recommend legumes as a key food group for preventing disease and optimizing health. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends 3 cups of legumes per week (based on a daily intake of approximately 2,000 calories). Because 1 serving of legumes was defined as 1/2 cup (cooked), the Dietary Guidelines for Americans come very close to this as they recommend of 1/2 cup of cooked legumes on a daily basis. Based on our own research review, we believe that 3 cups of legumes per week is a very reasonable goal for support of good health. However, we also believe that optimal health benefits from legumes may require consumption of legumes in greater amounts. This recommendation for greater amounts is based upon studies in which legumes have been consumed at least 4 days per week and in amounts falling into a 1-2 cup range per day. These studies suggest a higher optimal health benefit level than the 2005 Dietary Guidelines: instead of 3 cups of weekly legumes, 4-8 cups would become the goal range. Remember that any amount of legumes is going to make a helpful addition to your diet. And whatever weekly level of legumes you decide to target, we definitely recommend inclusion of garbanzo beans among your legume choices. You will find that many of our recipes containing beans gives you the choice between using home cooked beans and canned beans. If you are in a hurry canned beans can be a healthy option. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value between canned garbanzo beans and those you cook yourself. However there may be some concern over the BPA content of canned products. To find out if the cans of your favorite canned beans are lined with BPA, you will need to contact the manufacturer. Your best bet to avoid BPA is to factor in a little more time to your meal preparation process and prepare beans yourself. See Healthiest Way of Cooking Garbanzo Beans below.
Garbanzo Beans, cooked
1.00 cup
(164.00 grams)
Calories: 269
GI: low
NutrientDRI/DV

 molybdenum273.3%

 manganese84.5%

 folate70.5%

 copper64.4%

 fiber49.8%

 phosphorus39.3%

 protein29%

 iron26.3%

 zinc22.8%

This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health Benefits

Digestive Tract Support

Even though legumes are known for their fiber, most people do not know how helpful the fiber in garbanzo beans can actually be for supporting digestive tract function. First is the issue of amount. Garbanzos contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup. That's 50% of the Daily Value (DV)! In addition to this plentiful amount, at least two-thirds of the fiber in garbanzos is insoluble. This insoluble fiber typically passes all the way through our digestive tract unchanged, until it reaches the last part of our large intestine (the colon). Bacteria in our colon can break down the garbanzos' insoluble fiber into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid. These SCFAs can be absorbed by the cells that line our colon wall and can be used by these cells for energy. In fact, butyric acid is the preferred source of energy for the cells lining our colon. With the extra amounts of energy provided by SCFAs from the insoluble fiber in garbanzos, our colon cells can stay optimally active and healthy. Healthier colon cell function means lower risk for us of colon problems, including lower risk of colon cancer.

Unique Supply of Antioxidants

Many of our body systems are susceptible to oxidative stress and damage from reactive oxygen molecules. These systems include our cardiovascular system, our lungs, and our nervous system. Plentiful amounts of antioxidant nutrients are critical for the support of these body systems, and garbanzo beans are a remarkable food in terms of their antioxidant composition. While containing small but valuable amounts of conventional antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, garbanzo beans also contain more concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients. These phytonutrients include the flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin (usually found in the outer layer of the beans), and the phenolic acids ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and vanillic acid (usually found in the interior portion of the beans). Depending on the type of bean and color/thickness of the outer layer, garbanzo beans can also contain significant amounts of the anthocyanins delphinidin, cyanidin, and petunidin. The mineral manganese—a key antioxidant in the energy-producing mitochondria found inside most cells—is also provided in excellent amounts by garbanzo beans. In fact, just one cup of garbanzos can provide you with nearly 85% of the Daily Value (DV) for this key antioxidant. An increasing number of animal and human studies clearly show the ability of garbanzo beans to reduce our risk of heart disease, and we believe that an important part of this risk reduction is due to the fantastic antioxidant make-up of these legumes.

Decreased Cardiovascular Risks

While epidemiologic studies don't always single out garbanzo beans from other beans when determining their relationship to cardiovascular disease, garbanzo beans are almost always included in the list of legumes studied when heart disease is the focus of diet research. Large-scale epidemiologic studies give us a great look at potential heart benefits from garbanzo beans, and the evidence shows garbanzo beans to be outstanding in this area. As little as 3/4 cup of garbanzos per day can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in a one-month period of time. This cardiovascular support is likely to come from multiple aspects of garbanzo beans and their nutrient composition. About one-third of the fiber in garbanzo beans is soluble fiber, and this type of fiber is the type most closely associated with support of heart health. As mentioned earlier in this Health Benefits section, garbanzo beans also have a unique combination of antioxidants, and these antioxidants clearly provide support for our blood vessels walls and blood itself. And while garbanzo beans are not a fatty food, they do contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body's omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made. There are about 70-80 milligrams of ALA in every cup of garbanzo beans, and there are about 2 grams of other polyunsaturated fatty acids. Risk of coronary heart disease is one of the specific types of cardiovascular risks that has been shown to be reduced by regular intake of garbanzo beans and other legumes.

Better Regulation of Blood Sugar

No food macronutrients are more valuable for blood sugar regulation than fiber and protein. These two nutrients have an amazing ability to help stabilize the flow of food through our digestive tract and prevent the breakdown of food from taking place too quickly or too slowly. When food passes through us at a healthy rate of speed, release of sugar from the food is typically better regulated. Strong vitamin and mineral composition of a food - including strong antioxidant composition - can also help stabilize its digestive impact on our blood sugar. Given these basic relationships between nutrition and blood sugar control, it's not surprising to see garbanzo beans improving blood sugar regulation in research studies. We've seen studies in which participants consumed as little as 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans per day and still witnessed better blood sugar control in as little as one week. In animal studies, garbanzo-based improvements in blood sugar regulation have partly been linked to better control of insulin output and overall insulin function. We suspect that some of these blood sugar benefits are directly related to improved digestive function. Garbanzo beans are a fantastic food for providing our digestive system with nutrient support. Even though research studies have shown blood sugar benefits with as little as 1/2 cup servings of garbanzo beans, we recommend that you consider more generous single servings of this delicious legume, in the range of up to 1 cup.

Increased Chances for Satiety and Decreased Caloric Intake

We have been excited to see recent studies showing a positive relationship between garbanzo beans and weight management. The best single study we've seen in this regard has been a study that measured food satiety. "Food satiety" is the scientific term used to describe our satisfaction with food—how full it leaves us feeling, and how effective it is in eliminating our sense of hunger and appetite. Participants in a recent study were found to consume fewer snacks and fewer overall calories when supplementing their regular diet with garbanzo beans. They were also found to report greater food satiety, with experiences of reduced appetite and greater food satisfaction. We look forward to some large-scale studies in this area, and we expect to see a clear role being carved out for garbanzo beans in terms of weight loss and weight management. Along with their unusual combination of protein and fiber and their great ability to stabilize digestion, garbanzo beans also stand out as a food that is moderate in terms of calories. At approximately 270 calories per cup, we're talking about 10-15% of daily calories. In return for this moderate calorie cost, we get 50% of the DV for fiber and 29% of the DV for protein. Those nutrient amounts are great trade-offs for anyone struggling with weight loss or weight management.

History

Garbanzo beans originated in the Middle East, the region of the world whose varied food cultures still heavily rely upon this high protein legume. The first record of garbanzo beans being consumed dates back about seven thousand years. They were first cultivated around approximately 3000 BC. Their cultivation began in the Mediterranean basin and subsequently spread to India and Ethiopia. Garbanzo beans were grown by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and were very popular among these cultures. During the 16th century, garbanzo beans were brought to other subtropical regions of the world by both Spanish and Portuguese explorers as well as Indians who emigrated to other countries. Today, the main commercial producers of garbanzos are India, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia and Mexico.

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