Once primarily a Middle-Eastern staple, hummus is now a standard part of the diets of many Americans. This mashed chickpea spread offers a deliciously healthful alternate to creamy, cheesy dips. Its individual components – lemon, tahini and garlic, plus frequent additions like spinach or beets – add up to make a snack or light meal with benefits for weight management.
Nutrient Profile of Hummus
When you’re scooping it up with baby carrots or pita chips, it’s easy to eat too much hummus at one sitting. A quarter-cup makes a smart portion. That amount offers you 102 calories, 5 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs and 6 grams of total fat. The saturated fat in a serving of hummus is only about 1 gram, and this dish contains no cholesterol. Of the carb grams in hummus, 4 are from fiber – the indigestible nutrient that makes your digestive system hum. Both the protein and fiber in hummus fill you up so you aren’t quickly reaching for another snack.
Hummus also provides a good mix of micronutrients, the vitamins and minerals that help keep all your body’s systems running smoothly. The spread is particularly noteworthy for its high folate content; a quarter-cup gives you 13 percent of the daily value if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. Folate supports the growth of cells and tissues, metabolizes protein, and is especially important to the neural health of developing fetuses.
A serving of hummus is rich in minerals like iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and manganese, offering 8 to 24 percent of these essential nutrients. Minerals perform a variety of functions in the body, assisting with bone, muscle, tissue and enzyme formation.
Weight Control Benefits
One recent study found an association between those who eat hummus and weight control. In research published in the journal Nutrition and Food Sciences in 2016, people who consumed hummus were 53 percent less likely to be obese and 43 percent less likely to be overweight than those who didn’t. They also had a 48 percent reduced risk of larger waist circumferences. The filling nature of hummus as a snack might contribute to these results, or it may be that those who add it to their diets follow healthier regimens in general.
Other Health Benefits
According to a review published in Nutrients in 2016, hummus consumption may have a positive impact on factors associated with cardiovascular disease, such as blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Hummus may also help regulate peaks and valleys in blood glucose, making it useful for individuals trying to control prediabetes or diabetes. Consuming hummus with other healthy foods, like raw vegetables and whole-grain breads, increases its overall benefits.
You can make your own hummus in a food processor or buy it premade at the store. Many brands feature flavors like red pepper, sun-dried tomato, beet, artichoke or spinach. Enjoy hummus as a dip with fresh carrots and celery. You can also make a whole-wheat pita sandwich with hummus, sliced cucumber, feta cheese, red bell pepper and sprouts. Try hummus as a spread for your turkey-and-veggie wrap, or thin it with a little olive oil and lemon juice to use as a salad dressing. Top fresh greens or half an avocado with a serving of hummus for a satisfying lunch.
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