Chickpeas were one of the first cultivated crops and are still one of the most popular legumes around the world today, so it’s not surprising that some cultures have used chickpeas to make a grain-free, versatile flour for centuries. Chickpea flour has a high proportion of fibre and a higher percentage of protein than other more traditional flours.
Chickpeas belong to the class of high-fibre foods called legumes or pulses, which also includes beans, lentils and green peas. Chickpea flour — which is also called gram flour, garbanzo bean flour or traditionally besan — is popular in many countries, especially in Asia and the Middle East. For example, it’s considered a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Bangladeshi cuisines.
Eating more chickpeas and chickpea flour is a great way to increase your intake of fibre. And because they’re such a high source of fibre, many studies show that eating more chickpeas, and most types of legumes, can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even some types of cancer.
Chickpea flour offers a good array of vitamins and minerals. Chickpeas are thought to have calcium and magnesium in an ideal ratio, a very high amount of folate — which is essential for a healthy pregnancy and good amounts of energising B vitamins such as vitamin B6.
Benefits of Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour has 25% fewer calories than white flour, making it less energy-dense. Eating more lower-calorie foods may help you reduce calorie intake while eating the portion sizes you’re used to.
Chickpeas contain antioxidants and may help fight free radicals. Using chickpea flour in processed foods seems to reduce their content of harmful acrylamide.
Chickpea flour is full of vitamins and minerals, with 1 cup (92 grams) providing 101% of the RDI for folate and over a quarter of your daily needs for several other nutrients.
Chickpea flour may decrease hunger by regulating the hunger hormone ghrelin. Still, more research is needed to explore this effect.
Chickpea flour is a low-GI food that has a gradual effect on blood sugar. In some small studies, eating foods made with chickpea flour resulted in decreased blood sugar, compared to products made with wheat flour. Still, more research is needed.
Chickpea flour is high in fibre, which may help improve blood fat levels. It also contains a type of fibre called resistant starch, which has been linked to several health benefits.
Chickpea flour is higher in protein than wheat flour, which may help decrease hunger and increase the number of calories you burn. Chickpeas are an ideal protein source for vegetarians, as they provide nearly all of the essential amino acids. resistant starch, which has been linked to several health benefits.
Chickpea flour is a great substitute for wheat flour, as it acts similarly during cooking. It’s a great alternative for people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or wheat allergy.