Chickpea (CicerarietinumL.) is an important pulse crop grown and consumed all over the world, especially in the Afro-Asian countries. In the last cropping year, Pakistan had produced 673,000 tons of chickpea (white gram) and black gram, up from less than 300,000 tons a year ago. For this year, the output estimates vary between 700,000 and 750,000 tons, as per the information gathered by provincial agricultural departments reveal. Gram is one of the top 10 pulses produced in the country and accounts for 70 per cent of the total pulses output which has historically been in the range of 500,000-700,000 tons but looks set to reach closer to a million tons this year.
It is a good source of carbohydrates and protein, and protein quality is considered to be better than other pulses. It contains 22 percent protein, 63 percent carbohydrates, 46 percent starch, 5 percent fat, 7 percent crude fiber, 6 percent soluble sugar and 3 percent ash. It does not contain any specific anti – nutritional factors. Due to high contents cheap protein it is highly consumed by the poorer section of people. The normal use of Chickpea (gram) maintains a good digestion and control cholesterol level in the human body. It is used as medicine for treatment of snake bite, sunstroke, bronchitis, leprosy, skin diseases, blood disorder and biliousness etc. Its seed is used as appetizer and enriches blood and cure skin diseases and inflammation of the ear. It leaves are used for cold, cough and pains. Chickpeas also offer specific health benefits, and consuming them regularly boosts your intake of a few key nutrients.
Eating chickpeas provides you with a vegetarian-friendly source of protein, with each cup of cooked garbanzo beans containing 15 grams. Your body breaks down this protein into amino acids, and then uses them to maintain the health of your body tissues. Chickpeas are a source of incomplete protein, which means they do not contain every amino acid you need for good health. Make sure you combine them with other sources of protein, such as nuts, whole grains, dairy, eggs or meat to prevent an amino acid deficiency.
Opt for chickpeas as a rich source of dietary fiber. Foods rich in fiber help keep your colon healthy. Fiber helps soften stool to fight constipation, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Fiber-rich foods also help control your blood sugar levels, because fiber slows down digestion, allowing sugar to move slowly from your digestive tract into your bloodstream. As a result, youre less likely to develop a blood sugar spike after eating, and wont experience the fatigue and irritation from a subsequent blood sugar crash. A cup of cooked chickpeas provides 12.5 grams of fiber — half of the daily fiber intake recommendation for women or one-third of the daily fiber recommendation for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, can help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy because the carbohydrate in them are broken down and digested slowly. This is helpful for weight loss as it controls appetite. Like other beans, Chickpeas, are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that snares bile (which contains cholesterol) and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber prevents constipation, and also helps prevent digestive disorders.
MANGANESE AND FOLATE:
Grams also contain vitamins and minerals and significantly boost your intake of manganese and folate. The mineral manganese helps support bone development and wound healing and also helps carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism. A 1-cup serving of chickpeas contains 1.7 milligrams of manganese, approximately 94 percent of the daily recommended intake for women, or 74 percent of the RDA for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Folate, or vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication and protects against genetic mutations that contribute to cancer development. Eating a cup of chickpeas provides you with 282 micrograms of folate, or 71 percent of your daily folate requirements, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center. Grams are an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Just one cup of grams provides 84.5% of the daily value for this mineral.
Because of their high iron content chickpea intake can boost your energy. This is particularly important for pregnant or lactating women and growing children. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.
The authors are from Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan.