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Hummus, the New Nutrient Rich Spread

No one knows for sure how far back the history of hummus goes, but traces of chickpea, the key ingredient, have turned up in Middle Eastern archeological sites dating to 7,500 B.C.  Made from the few ingredients of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), olive oil, lemon juice and salt hummus is a delectable, creamy, irresistibly tasty spread. Seasonings are added to taste and can be used to make different varieties like roasted pepper, roasted garlic, or stick with traditional and sprinkle some cumin on top.  The making of this dish is quite simple.  All the ingredients are simply ground down until they form a smooth paste.  These key ingredients come together beautifully and create a snack that is chock-full of nutrients that are linked to many health benefits.

Hummus-21-640x480Hummus is a great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, iron, and fiber.  Beyond the nutritious benefits hummus is very satiating as well as rich in protein which helps you fight hunger cravings.  “Food satiety” is the scientific term used to describe our satisfaction with food—how full it leaves us feeling, and how effective it is in eliminating our sense of hunger and appetite.  Hummus can lower your risk of heart disease because it supports healthy cholesterol and blood pressure.  These nutrients also contribute to better regulation of blood sugar.

In a recent study, “two groups of participants received about 28 grams of fiber per day. But the two groups were very different in terms of their food sources for fiber. One group received dietary fiber primarily from garbanzo beans. The other group obtained dietary fiber from entirely different sources. The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.”

The base of hummus is garbanzo beans.  Known by many names garbanzo beans are also commonly called chickpeas.  The name “chickpea” can be traced back through the French chiche, Latin for ‘chickpea’.  When found in the grocery store the name chickpeas and garbanzo beans are interchangeable, elsewhere there is subtle differences between the two.  The beans found in grocery stores are usually cream-colored and relatively round, known at the “kabuli-type”.  These beans come in many variety’s.  World wide the most common type of garbanzo been is the “desi-type” which is smaller, irregularly shaped, and varies in color.

Hummus’ popularity is on the rise because Americans are seeking more “healthy” snacks.  The sales of these types of spreads have gone up to $530 million in 2012, a 11 percent increase from a year earlier and a 25 percent jump over 2010, according to market-research firm Information Resources Inc.  Grocery isles have been filling up with many different brands of pre-made hummus.  Since this dish is so simply to make I highly suggest making it at home, which will also be more cost effective and you won’t have to worry about preservatives.