Hummus: how healthy is the chickpea puree?

Hummus is a paste made from mashed chickpeas. Especially in the Turkish and Arabic region, hummus is an established dish that is hard to imagine there. In Germany, too, hummus has become increasingly popular as a spread or snack, which is why you can now buy it in every supermarket. However, it is not difficult to make hummus yourself. Read on to find out exactly how this works, how healthy hummus is and how many calories it contains.

What is hummus?

Hummus comes from the Middle East and is an integral part of the food culture there. The chickpea puree has been eaten there for centuries and is often on the menu. For a long time, hummus in Germany was mainly available in Turkish shops. You can now buy hummus at markets, in delicatessens, but also in most supermarkets.

With hummus, the name says it all: the word comes from Arabic and means “chickpea”. The legume is also the main ingredient in hummus. In addition, the mush consists of tahini (also tahini or tahini), a finely ground paste made from sesame seeds, as well as olive oil, lemon juice, salt and some other spices, such as  cumin .

The chickpea originally comes from the Asian-Turkish region. From her area of ​​origin she was eventually brought to India and the Mediterranean. Today, India is one of the largest growing areas of chickpeas due to the ideal climate for the growth of legumes.
There are two types of chickpeas. The slightly larger chickpea is yellowish-beige and is grown in the Mediterranean region. The variety originating from India is smaller and wrinkled. It has a brown color.

Is hummus healthy? Nutritional Values ​​and Calories

Depending on the recipe, the calorie content of chickpea hummus varies between 140 and 200 kilocalories (kcal), or 586 and 837 kilojoules per 100 grams. Hummus is not necessarily low in calories, but thanks to the  fiber it contains, it  also fills you up quickly. If you want to save calories, you can combine the snack with vegetable sticks instead of bread.

However, hummus is extremely healthy because the chickpeas also contain many healthy  nutrients  such as  folic acid  and  vitamin C. Hummus mainly contains the following vitamins:

  • Vitamin E  has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, it stimulates the immune system by activating the killer cells and stimulating the formation of antibodies.
  • Folic acid  or  vitamin B6  is involved in DNA duplication and cell division, especially in nerve cells.
  • Vitamin B1 plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and is essential for the functioning of the nervous system and the maintenance of heart muscle tissue.
  • Vitamin B3  supports the function of the nervous system and the energy metabolism.
  • Vitamin C is involved in building collagen, bones, connective tissue, gums and teeth. It protects against free radicals and is also involved in metabolic processes, strengthens the immune system and helps absorb iron.

In addition, the mus is rich in  iron. This makes the dish particularly suitable for  vegetarians  and vegans. Since they easily suffer from iron deficiency by not eating meat, hummus with its high iron content offers an ideal substitute.

Chickpeas contain 20 percent protein. Of these, the vital  amino acids  threonine and lysine together make up the largest part. Both amino acids have many functions in our organism. They serve as building blocks for enzymes and hormones. Lysine is important for bones, tendons, muscles and the stability of collagen. Threonine is involved in the formation of collagen and uric acid metabolism and is an important building block for antibodies.

In addition, chickpea hummus is high in fiber. These are broken down into fatty acids by bacteria in the large intestine and absorb water. As a result, fiber slows down digestion. Carbohydrates are then absorbed with a delay and are less likely to be converted into fat. This has a positive effect on the  metabolism  , blood sugar rises more slowly.

Make hummus yourself: you should pay attention to this

Chickpeas contain phytic acid, about 338 milligrams per 100 grams. Phytic acid is known to bind proteins, iron and magnesium in a complex. As a result, the substances are no longer available to the body because they cannot be absorbed as a complex. Vitamin C is able to split the complex so that the protein and minerals are available again. As a result, the lemon juice in the hummus is very important as a supplier of vitamin C and for breaking down the complexes – and the hummus is particularly suitable as an iron supplier for a vegetarian or vegan diet.

If you prepare hummus from dried chickpeas, it is important that you let the chickpeas swell for at least twelve hours and then boil them in fresh water for an hour. Chickpeas contain the toxin phasin, which only decomposes and becomes harmless if the legumes are heated long enough. Consuming raw or undercooked or swollen chickpeas leads to poisoning. The blood clots and gastrointestinal symptoms up to gastrointestinal bleeding occur. Typical symptoms are  nausea , vomiting and  diarrhea .

Hummus Recipe

For a good hummus you only need a few ingredients. Here are the ingredients for 4 people:

  • 350 grams of chickpeas
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Lemon juice from 2  lemons
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100 to 150 grams of tahini paste

The basic substance for hummus are chickpeas. Dried chickpeas should be left to soak in enough water for twelve hours overnight before further processing and then boiled in fresh water for an hour until soft. The soaking water should not be used for cooking. Use fresh water. You can also use canned chickpeas for quicker preparation. These are already ready to eat.

In the next step, add lemon juice or zest, garlic and olive oil to the cooked chickpeas   and puree everything together. Finally, you should add tahini, a paste made from roasted and ground sesame seeds, to the puree for the characteristic nutty taste of hummus.

buy hummus

You can now buy hummus in almost every supermarket. In a study by the Öko-Test Foundation, in which the ingredients of 18 products from the food trade were tested, most manufacturers did well. However, six of the hummus samples from the supermarket showed residues of glyphosate. The pesticide is used against weeds. The legal limits have not been exceeded, but it can still be advisable to buy organic hummus when shopping, as the use of glyphosate is prohibited in organic farms.

Three of the conventionally produced products also showed increased levels of the toxic heavy metal cadmium. This is found in the soil and is easily absorbed by plants. In the long term, high consumption of cadmium can damage the kidneys.

Freeze hummus

Hummus does not keep long in the refrigerator, so it should be used within a few days. You can also freeze hummus in an airtight container. It should be as fresh as possible. It will keep like this for up to four months. If you want to thaw the hummus again, you should do it gently in the fridge.

Hummus Variations

Hummus is usually served cold and is particularly popular as a spread or as a dip with vegetables. You can also serve hummus with salads or as a dip with larger dishes such as meat dishes. In the oriental region, hummus is eaten with flatbread or falafel. A special treat is hummus with toasted flatbread.

You can optionally season hummus with additional spices such as cumin, salt, and pepper, and garnish with paprika,  parsley , black  olives  , and olive oil. Refined with  yoghurt  , hummus gets a creamy consistency. This can also serve as a substitute for tahini. If you want to make hummus without tahini, you can also  use other nut pastes, such as cashews.

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