Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a great source of vegetable protein. They’re easy to buy in the United States even though they’re a Mediterranean staple. At groceries, you can find them with canned vegetables or raw beans.
People love chickpeas because of their health benefits. But if you have high cholesterol, you might be wondering if they’re good for you. After all, high cholesterol is a serious thing. It increases your risk for heart disease – the biggest cause of death in the country.1 You’re also more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
Currently, 28 percent of adults ages 40 and up need cholesterol-lowering drugs.2 But with the right lifestyle changes, cholesterol can be lowered naturally. Chickpeas can help, thanks to these three benefits.
3 Reasons Chickpeas Are Good For Cholesterol
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1. Excretes Bile
Chickpeas are well known for their high fiber content. This nutrient can do amazing things for your cholesterol! It can trap bile – a digestive fluid that’s partly made of cholesterol.
The body can’t digest fiber; so fiber’s excreted in the stools and takes bile with it. But since some bile is needed for digestion, the body breaks down LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to make enough. The result is better LDL cholesterol levels.3
Just half a cup of chickpeas gives you 12.2 g of fiber. That’s almost half the daily recommended intake of 20 to 35 g! However, if you want optimal cholesterol-lowering effects, consume up to 50 g daily. The New England Journal of Medicine states that this intake has the best outcome on both triglyceride and cholesterol levels.4
If you want to increase your fiber intake, do it slowly. Drink a lot of water, too. This will prevent constipation.5
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2. Prevents Weight Gain
Losing weight can do wonders for your cholesterol levels. Often, the two have a direct relationship. The more pounds you shed, the better your lipid levels will be. LDL and total cholesterol decrease, while HDL (“good”) cholesterol increases. Excess weight is linked to high LDL levels.6
Chickpeas can help you lose weight. They increase satiety and, therefore, make you feel full for a long time. You won’t even need extra fat and calories.
Binge eating will be less likely because you won’t be famished. It’ll also
This is all thanks to the high fiber and protein in chickpeas. In addition to the 12.2 g of fiber you get from eating half a cup, you’ll also get 20 g of protein.
To benefit more from chickpeas, use them to bulk up salads. You can also eat hummus for breakfast or snacks. It’ll keep you satiated until your next meal.
However, keep in mind that it’s possible to have high cholesterol at a healthy weight. If that’s the case, you should focus on a better diet and exercise. Aim for weight maintenance instead of weight loss.7
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3. Contains No Cholesterol
Chickpeas do not have any cholesterol. In fact, only animal products have cholesterol; this can make LDL and total cholesterol rise. So if you’re trying to naturally lower
Consuming less than 200 mg of cholesterol a day can lower LDL by 3 to 5 percent.8
These legumes also have very little saturated fat, a nutrient that has greater LDL than cholesterol. Half a cup of chickpeas has only 0.6 g of saturated fat. A 2,000 calorie diet should contribute no more than 13 g of saturated fat daily, making chickpeas a wise choice.9
Saturated fats should take up less than 7 percent of your caloric intake. This will help LDL decrease by 8 to 10 percent.10
Your doctor can determine your cholesterol levels with a blood test. Total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL, and LDL should be less than 129 mg/dL. Preferably, HDL cholesterol should be more than 40 mg/dL.11 These levels are best for optimal health.
|↑1, ↑8, ↑10||Your Guide To Lowering Your Cholesterol With TLC. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑2, ↑6||Cholesterol Levels Improve with Weight Loss and Healthy Fat-Rich Diet. UC San Diego Health.|
|↑3||Lambeau, Kellen V., and Johnson W. McRorie. “Fiber supplements and clinically proven health benefits: How to recognize and recommend an effective fiber therapy.” Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2017).|
|↑4||Chandalia, Manisha, Abhimanyu Garg, Dieter Lutjohann, Klaus von Bergmann, Scott M. Grundy, and Linda J. Brinkley. “Beneficial effects
|↑5||How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels? Joslin Diabetes Center.|
|↑7||High Cholesterol (Dyslipidemia). John Hopkins Medicine.|
|↑9||Saturated Fats. American Heart Association.|
|↑11||Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know. NIH Medline Plus.|