Hummus is a Mediterranean spread made by combining chickpeas, olive oil, lemon, garlic and a sesame paste called tahini. These ingredients each contain health-promoting nutrients and when combined, form a dish packed with many health benefits. Add hummus to your diet to help with weight management, regulate your digestive system and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chickpeas contain a significant amount of fiber and protein. Both fiber and protein have a high satiety value, meaning they can keep you feeling full for longer. While the protein and fiber keep you full, the carbohydrates in hummus can provide you with the energy you need until your next meal. Since hummus contains, on average, only 25 calories per tablespoon, it can be particularly useful for curbing your appetite when trying to lose or maintain weight.
One tablespoon of hummus provides you with 6 percent of your daily fiber needs, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This fiber primarily comes from the chickpeas in hummus, which contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. A balance of both types of fiber is the key to digestive health. Consume hummus as a regular part of your daily diet to help meet your daily fiber needs as well as ensure you are getting both types of dietary fiber.
Hummus can lower your risk of heart disease by lowering risk factors such as elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. According to research published in 2016 in the journal “Nutrients,” people who eat hummus regularly may have lower risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, overweight and poor GI health. Sesame seeds in the tahini paste that is part of traditional hummus contain high levels of magnesium, which can also help lower cholesterol as well as blood pressure. The antioxidants from garlic and the monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil can both lower cholesterol, improve blood flow and reduce risk of atherosclerosis.
Reduced Cancer Risk
Hummus may be able to help reduce the risk of cancer due to the antioxidant activity of chickpeas and garlic. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic contains an abundance of antioxidants which have been reported to reduce the risk of colon and stomach cancers. Among dry beans, chickpeas contain one of the highest levels of polyphenols, a plant chemical which also acts as an antioxidant.
Hummus complements a wide variety of grains and veggies, but you’ll most often find it paired with Mediterranean flavors. Consider serving “hummus tacos” in pita with fresh sliced veggies and a sprinkling of feta cheese and olives. A hummus platter with pita triangles, cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh greens is a good party dip option. Hummus can also be the main event of a meal, especially for vegetarians or vegans, such as in a hummus veggie wrap.