What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Hummus Regularly

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webnexttech | What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Hummus Regularly
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Discover the health benefits of eating hummus regularly, from blood sugar levels to heart health, plus tips for how to enjoy it. Reviewed by Dietitian Jessica Ball, M.S., RDReviewed by Dietitian Jessica Ball, M.S., RD Hummus—a creamy dip made from a combination of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic—has become a beloved addition to many people’s diets. You’ll find it at many restaurants, grocery stores and even gas stations as a quick and easy snack option. In this article, we’ll explore the many health benefits of eating hummus regularly and how to incorporate it into your meals. From its rich nutritional profile to its impressive versatility, discover why hummus deserves a regular spot on your plate. Health Benefits of Hummus May Promote Healthy Weight Management While one food isn’t a magic bullet for weight loss, hummus can be helpful for those looking to manage their weight in a healthy way. Hummus is a source of plant-based protein and fiber, which can help keep you satisfied for longer. If you’re sticking with the 2-tablespoon serving size, it’s also pretty low in calories compared to many other dips. Sarah Keathley, M.S., RD, LD, a registered dietitian at Top Nutrition Coaching points to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) dataset to back this up. Keathley notes how the chickpea and hummus consumers (in the context of other healthy lifestyle choices) were 53% less likely to be obese and 51% less likely to have elevated glucose levels. Helps Support Digestion You may already know by now how important fiber is for our overall gut health and digestion. Yet, 90% to 97% of Americans are still not getting enough of it. Hummus can be an excellent way to boost your fiber intake, especially when served alongside colorful veggies. Research confirms how the fiber in hummus can help feed the good gut bacteria inside our body and improve microbiota diversity. Most nutrition labels call for a 2-tablespoon serving, but some people may have closer to around 4 tablespoons if consuming it at different points in the day. “Four tablespoons of hummus offers nearly 6 grams of fiber, which is a great pairing in a well-balanced diet to meet your daily fiber needs,” says Keathley. May Improve Heart Health The ingredients in hummus—particularly chickpeas and tahini—are linked to some impressive heart-health benefits. Chickpeas contain heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) while boasting a low saturated fat content. Also, Keathley mentions, “The higher fiber content is helpful in cholesterol excretion. Current research suggests a correlation between regular chickpea consumption and significantly lower LDL (often called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels.” Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is also high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats like PUFAs and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). Keathley also points out that antioxidants in tahini called sesamin and sesamol can have anti-inflammatory effects. Research supports the effectiveness of these compounds in tahini for potentially lowering total cholesterol and LDL levels, too. Sesamin can also help cholesterol absorption and production, while sesamol helps remove cholesterol from cells. Keeping blood cholesterol levels in a healthy range is important for maintaining heart health and reducing the risk of chronic conditions. Encourages Stable Blood Sugar Levels Hummus has a combo of protein and fiber which can help regulate and stabilize blood sugar levels. Keathley points to recent research that supports this, mentioning how chickpeas have a high protein and resistant starch content. This combo has been reported to stimulate hormones found in the gut, such as GLP-1, GIP and PYY. “GLP-1 and GIP stimulate insulin secretion, aiding in post-meal blood glucose concentration,” says Keathley. Hummus Nutrition A 2-tablespoon serving of plain hummus contains the following: Calories: 80Carbohydrates: 5 gDietary fiber: 2 gTotal sugar: 0 gAdded sugar: 0 gProtein: 3 gTotal fat: 6 gSaturated fat: 1 gCholesterol: 0 mgSodium: 150 mgPhosphorus: 166 mg (24% Daily Value)Magnesium: 71 mg (17% Daily Value)Iron: 2 mg (13% Daily Value) For just a small serving, hummus packs a punch when it comes to fiber and protein, making it a more filling snack. Its rich phosphorus content supports bone health, while magnesium and iron are crucial for muscle and cellular function. Is Hummus Safe for Everyone to Eat? Hummus is generally healthy and safe for most people. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind: Allergies: People with food allergies should check ingredient lists carefully. Hummus contains sesame (from tahini) which is considered a common allergen. If you are allergic to sesame, you might consider making your own chickpea spread at home without adding tahini.Sodium Content: Store-bought hummus can often be high in sodium, especially if you’re having several servings. Those on a low-sodium diet should either consume it in moderation or opt for homemade versions to control the sodium content.Pregnancy: Keathley points out the debate on whether or not individuals should avoid hummus when pregnant. This mainly stems from the idea that raw sesame seeds (the base for tahini) may pose a Salmonella risk. Keathley notes, “Typically, if you consume a hummus utilizing heat-treated sesame seeds and follow the ‘best by dates,’ you should be safe. It is also a good idea not to share your hummus directly out of the container, as this can open the door for bacteria transmission.” Tips for Enjoying Hummus Hummus is super versatile and works well in snacks, meals and even desserts! Here are some ideas: Pair with Vegetables: Use hummus as a dip to liven up raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell peppers.Spread on Sandwiches: Replace mayonnaise with hummus on your sandwiches or wraps for that same creaminess but more fiber and protein. Need recipe inspo? Try these Veggie Wraps with Cilantro Hummus.Use as a Salad Dressing: You can thin out hummus with a bit of water, lemon juice or olive oil to create an easy and flavorful salad dressing.Incorporate into Meals: Add a dollop of hummus to bowls, wraps or baked potatoes for an extra boost of flavor and nutrients. You can even use it as a spread for Hummus-Crusted Chicken.Make a Dessert Hummus: Use a base of chickpeas and tahini in something sweeter with our Dark Chocolate Hummus. Perfect to dip strawberries or graham crackers!Try Different Flavors: Don’t forget to experiment with various ingredients that can add flavor to hummus, like roasted red pepper or avocado, to keep things interesting. There are a wide variety of store-bought hummus flavors to choose from, too. The Bottom Line Regularly enjoying hummus can offer many benefits to our bodies. From potential improvements in blood sugar levels to improved heart health, the ingredients in hummus provide nutrients that help support our overall well-being. While hummus is considered a nutritious spread, stick to the serving guidelines most of the time, especially if you are monitoring your sodium or calorie intake. When combined with other nutrient-rich foods, hummus can be a tasty and versatile part of a balanced plate. Frequently Asked Questions Is hummus healthy for weight loss? Yes, hummus can be a healthy option for weight loss due to its higher fiber and protein content, which helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. However, just like all foods, enjoy it in moderation. Is it OK to eat hummus every day? Eating hummus everyday can be part of a balanced diet, as long as you pay attention to the portion you choose and aim to keep it to around 2 to 4 tablespoons at a time. It’s a nutrient-rich choice to have regularly. Is hummus a protein or carb? Hummus contains both protein and carbohydrates. Per 2-tablespoon serving, it provides 5 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of plant-based protein. This combo makes it a well-rounded and balanced food choice. Read the original article on Eating Well.

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