Hummus is an incredibly versatile dip; it can be made with different ingredients and can be used on a variety of vegetables and breads. I often get asked though if hummus is good for you. Can something that tasty really be healthy? The answer is a resounding yes! Hummus is a great choice for a healthy spread or dip!
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are the main ingredient in hummus. One cup of chickpeas contains 200 calories and only 1 gram of fat. This is quite low and, when made into hummus, the calories and fat become much lower per serving. Chickpeas have no saturated fat, and no cholesterol. They aid in improving blood sugar levels and help fight cholesterol. They are also high in protein, making them a perfect addition to a vegetarian’s diet or for anyone who would like to cut back on red meat. Even better, chickpeas, like all beans, are high in fiber. A cup of chickpeas contains a whopping 14 grams of fiber, about half of your total daily needs. Who knew getting you fiber could be so delicious.
Another staple of hummus is tahini. Tahini is a sesame paste that will almost always be found in hummus. It can be omitted or used sparingly according to taste, but it is usually considered a main ingredient. Because it is sesame seed based, tahini does have a high calorie and fat content. However, in proportion to the amount used in hummus, this fat and calorie content per serving will be low. In addition, it's important to note that tahini, like chickpeas, is a great source of protein, and calcium and the fat contained in tahini is mainly unsaturated fat, rather than the more unhealthy saturated fat.
The remaining ingredients in basic hummus are lemon juice, salt, garlic, and olive oil. Of these, olive oil has the highest fat content, but such a small amount is used, a normal serving of hummus will still remain low in fat. Remember that olive oil is one of the more healthy of oils. Though considered a fat, olive oil has a high monounsaturated fat content and relatively low saturated fat content. Olive oil helps the body’s heart remain healthy and also aids in regulating cholesterol levels.
It's important that we get fat into our diets because they help us absorb vitamins and nutrients. But that fat should come from healthy, mono and poly unsaturated fats.So next time you are looking for a tasty, yet healthy dip, ditch the high saturated fat mayonnaise and sour creams. Hummus is the way to go!