The management of diabetes is not limited to only the use of blood sugar-lowering drugs and insulin. Diet is also essential. Several studies have linked diet modification to an overall improvement of the condition as well as the prevention of complications. One of such includes diets with chickpeas.
Chickpeas are legumes high in proteins, fiber, vitamins, and essential minerals. As a result, they have lots of health benefits, including blood glucose-lowering effects. This article will explore the anti-diabetic properties of chickpeas and why they are essential in the diet of every diabetes patient.
Chickpeas And Their Nutritional Profile
Chickpeas also called garbanzo beans or Kabuli Chana, are legumes rich in protein and fiber. They contain essential nutrients that are beneficial to your overall well-being. Their antioxidants, as well as low glycemic index properties, are vital in improving chronic conditions such as diabetes.
One cup (200g) of chickpeas will provide a total calorie of 729 and contains 39g of protein, total carbs of 121g, and dietary fiber of 35g, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Food Data Central (USDA). However, despite this seemingly high carbohydrate content, these legumes are a healthy food choice for diabetes patients due to their low glycemic index(GI) of 28. In addition, because of this low GI, you can rest assured that your blood sugar level won’t spike up after consuming them.
Chickpeas are also rich in essential vitamins such as vitamins C, D, and B6 and minerals such as iron, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. They also contain phytochemicals such as flavonoids, and essential antioxidants necessary to prevent and manage chronic conditions such as diabetes.
What Are The Benefits of Chickpeas to Diabetes Patients?
As mentioned earlier, chickpeas have a blood sugar-lowering effect and are recommended in the diets of every diabetes patient. But how do they do this? Let’s find out below.
Regulation of Postprandial Glucose Level
Because of chickpeas’ low glycemic index (GI), they regulate the postprandial blood glucose level by slowing down the rate of glucose absorption. A study to compare the postprandial glucose level effect of whitebread and chickpeas showed a 29-36% reduction in blood glucose concentration in people fed with chickpeas compared to those fed with whitebread. Postprandial glucose regulation is important to your type 2 diabetes management. This is because your blood sugar levels are at their highest after eating.
Reduction of Your Food Intake
Chickpeas are fiber-rich, which can help you reduce your food intake. Soluble fiber absorbs water which gives you a sense of fullness. Feeling full will help you reduce the quantity and intervals you eat. Eating less is essential to your diabetes management plans, as the quality of meals is as important as the quantity. In addition, overeating can affect your weight loss plans and overall diabetes care plans.
Aiding Weight Loss
Being overweight or obese is a major but reversible risk factor for type 2 diabetes. It can also worsen the condition if you already have it. Because chickpeas make you eat less and suppress your appetite and energy intake, they can aid your weight management plans. Their low GI and high protein properties also contribute to their weight loss effect.
They Have Antioxidants Properties
Antioxidants are essential compounds in preventing the development and managing diabetes. They can also protect you from developing complications of the disease. Fortunately, chickpeas contain tons of them, such as vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta carotene, flavonoids, and myricetin.
Improve Your Glycemic Control
This study review showed that aiming for 20-30% energy source from proteins improves glycemic control, aids satiety, and improves lean body mass in type 2 diabetes patients. Chickpeas can be considered good sources of proteins and can provide a considerable amount of energy. Therefore, regularly consuming chickpeas can result in better blood sugar control and help keep your blood sugar in the normal range.
Improve Your Heart Health
One of the most familiar associations of diabetes is cardiovascular disease. Both types of diabetes are cardiovascular risk factors. With time high blood glucose levels can damage your blood vessels and nerves leading to heart diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published that as a diabetes patient, you have twice the risk of having heart disease or stroke than people without diabetes. In a recent study, chickpeas reduce blood LDL and total blood cholesterol levels by 4.6% and 4.9%, respectively. LDL and high blood cholesterol levels are implicated in cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and blood vessel diseases. Therefore, including chickpeas in your diet can help protect your heart and reduce your risk of having diabetes complications.
Improve Your Gut Health
One crucial benefit of dietary fiber and chickpeas that many people don’t consider is improving gut bacteria. Fibers can significantly alter the balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the gut. Diabetes is generally a condition that suppresses the immune system, making you prone to infections. With chickpeas, healthy bacteria can dominate your guts and protect you from infections like H.pylori and Salmonella spp.
How Can I Add Chickpeas to my Meal Plans
Chickpeas are delicious and can be made into various meals without losing their nutritional benefits. You may consider making your chickpeas into these:
- Grounded hummus
- Sprinkle on salad
- Soups and stews
- Curries for main dishes
- Three bean chaat
Although chickpeas have many proven health benefits for diabetes patients, be sure to ask your healthcare provider if it’s safe for you to add chickpeas to your diet.
To Wrap Up
A healthy diet plays a crucial role in the management of diabetes. Chickpeas are a strong candidate to include in your diabetes meal plans. They are nutritious legumes with many blood-regulating effects, including suppressing appetite, improving glycemic control, regulating postprandial blood sugar surge, and stabilizing your lipid profile.