Does eating chickpeas from a can different from eating chickpeas you’ve soaked yourself? Quick answer: no. The nutritional value is very similar, besides maybe a small increase in sodium due to the canning process of chickpeas. So if you regularly eat canned chickpeas and cook dishes at home with them, do not fret—you’re not losing any nutritional value.
In fact, many registered dietitians say that if you eat canned chickpeas regularly, your body will actually see a myriad of health benefits. Between the plant-based protein, fiber, and even the complex carbohydrates that are within these tiny legumes, having chickpeas in your diet is ultimately a good health move.
“Canned chickpeas are a convenient food that offers excellent nutrition,” says MyNetDiary’s Registered Dietitian and MS, Brenda Braslow. “1/2 cup of chickpeas has 134 calories and 7 grams of protein, the equivalent of one ounce of meat. One of the big three primary nutrients, protein is found in every single body cell.”
Here’s what happens to your body when you eat canned chickpeas regularly, and for even more cooking tips, be sure to check out our list of the 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.
“Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are chock-full of dietary fiber and plant-based protein,” says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “This powerful combo slows down digestion and allows us to feel fuller longer. Get creative and try adding chickpeas over grain bowls, blending into dips, or toss in your air fryer to get crispy chickpeas in a matter of minutes.”
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“Chickpeas are a good option for eating more plant-based protein! With 7 grams of protein for a 1/2 cup, plus 4 grams of fiber, chickpeas can help you feel more satisfied at meals,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, and owner of RD Career Jumpstart. “Adding chickpeas to grain dishes and salads is a great way to bump up the satiety factor and roasted chickpeas can be a crunchy, nutrient-rich snack.”
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“[A] 1/2 cup chickpeas offer a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals including 35% of the RDA for folate, 32% RDA for copper, and 37% RDA for manganese,” says Braslow. “If you are concerned about the sodium content, simply rinse the beans under running water before eating to remove some of the sodium. Rinsing also offers a bonus of removing some of the gas-forming agents.”
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“The combination of protein and fiber in chickpeas can keep the consumer feeling full for longer, which can reduce overeating and ultimately weight loss,” Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, with Balance One Supplements. “It is thought that the protein quality found in chickpeas is higher than the protein of other legumes. Adding chickpeas to your diet can help lower your blood sugar and make managing it much easier. This is due to the fiber and protein, but also the fact that chickpeas are a low glycemic index food.”
“Chickpeas are also good for heart health and may help reduce cholesterol levels,” says Lisa R. Young PhD, RDN, and the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. “They can be used in many versatile ways including dips (think hummus!), stews, stir-fries, and even salads. Canned chickpeas are naturally high in sodium so if you use canned chickpeas it’s best to rinse them with water before eating them. Rinsing them in water really does remove a lot of the added salt.”
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“Canned and dry chickpeas consist of starch named amylose that digests slowly,” says Shannon Henry, RD with EZ Care Clinic. “Moreover, they have a low glycemic index which means that body will digest and absorb them slowly. Both of these properties help to keep your blood sugar and insulin level in control.”
“[Eating canned chickpeas] allows your body to receive a wide range of great, balanced nutrition from a plant-based protein source that is low in fat that can help you feel satiated and help promote gut health and help with clearing LDL cholesterol from your body due to the fiber,” says Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN at A Taste of Health and Expert at Testing.com.
“Chickpeas are a great source of fiber,” says Jamie Feit, MS, RD and Expert at Testing.com. “Eating fiber helps to lower cholesterol, lower blood glucose, help your body feel full and there can help with weight reduction. Chickpeas are also a great food for the bacteria in our guts that keep us healthy.”
“The fiber in chickpeas not only helps to keep you full and promote a healthy weight, but it also helps to lower cholesterol and improves digestion, too,” says Megan Byrd, RD, from The Oregon Dietitian.
“Be sure that when you buy canned chickpeas, choose a low sodium option or thoroughly rinse the chickpeas in order to minimize the sodium you intake from consuming a canned choice, as sodium can increase risk of high blood pressure if consumed in excess,” says Hotz.
Sounds like it’s time to eat canned chickpeas! Here are 25 Healthy Chickpea Recipes That Can Help You Lose Weight.