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How Healthy Is Hummus?

By Sara Butler

Hummus is really in right now. You can find several different types of hummus at your local grocery store, from edamame hummus to chocolate hummus -- yes, chocolate hummus. But how healthy is hummus, anyway? Here's what you need to know about hummus to decide if it's right to incorporate into your varied and healthy diet.

What is Hummus?

There's no universal recipe to hummus. Everyone tends to put their own twist on it. Typically it starts with chickpeas, which are a nutritional powerhouse that tends to get a lot of attention. Chickpeas are a member of the pulse family and cousins to some other familiar pulses such as bean, peas, and lentils. Chickpeas are also popular because they're cheap, versatile, easy to find, and eco-friendly.

To make hummus, chickpeas are traditionally mixed with sesame paste, called tahini, as well as a little lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. But all you have to do is look at the types of hummus available to know that there's a wide variety out there.

The Health Benefits of Chickpeas

One cup of chickpeas out of a can has about 10 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. That's almost 40 percent of what you need in an entire day to be healthy. They're also full of key nutrients and antioxidants such as magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, and potassium.

Chickpea consumption has been tied to an improved heart and gut health as well as a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

What About Hummus?

So, we know chickpeas are healthy, but how healthy are they when made into hummus? It really comes down how the hummus is made.

The traditional ingredients found in hummus are incredibly good for you. But when you add in sweet ingredients such as sugar and cocoa, you're entering some questionable health territory. But dessert-inspired hummus served with fresh fruit is still a healthier option than ice cream or cake.

When buying pre-made versions of hummus in the store, you need to study the label carefully. Choose brands that use olive oil instead of oils that aren't as food for you, such as soybean oil. Also, skip over any hummus that contains preservatives such as sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. In fact, skip over any hummus that has words on the label you don't recognize!

Make sure to pair your hummus with healthy things such as vegetables instead of highly processed crackers or chips.

Hummus can be a great snack -- just pay attention to what's in it and what you pair it with to ensure you reap all the benefits!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Riverside, Calif.

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