Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, belong to the legume family, which includes a variety of beans, peanuts, soybeans and lentils. Opting for legumes over foods high in saturated fat might lower your risk of heart disease, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Chickpeas also offer specific health benefits, and consuming them regularly boosts your intake of a few key nutrients.
Eating chickpeas provides you with a vegetarian-friendly source of protein, with each cup of cooked garbanzo beans containing 15 grams. Your body breaks down this protein into amino acids, and then uses them to maintain the health of your body's tissues. Chickpeas are a source of incomplete protein, which means they do not contain every amino acid you need for good health. Make sure you combine them with other sources of protein, such as nuts, whole grains, dairy, eggs or meat to prevent an amino acid deficiency.
Opt for chickpeas as a rich source of dietary fiber. Foods rich in fiber help keep your colon healthy -- fiber helps soften stool to fight constipation, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Fiber-rich foods also help control your blood sugar levels, because fiber slows down digestion, allowing sugar to move slowly from your digestive tract into your bloodstream. As a result, you're less likely to develop a blood sugar spike after eating, and won't experience the fatigue and irritation from a subsequent blood sugar crash. A cup of cooked chickpeas provides 12.5 grams of fiber -- half of the daily fiber intake recommendation for women or one-third of of the daily fiber recommendation for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Manganese and Folate
Garbanzo beans also contain vitamins and minerals and significantly boost your intake of manganese and folate. The mineral manganese helps support bone development and wound healing and also helps carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism. A 1-cup serving of chickpeas contains 1.7 milligrams of manganese, approximately 94 percent of the daily recommended intake for women, or 74 percent of the RDA for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Folate, or vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication and protects against genetic mutations that contribute to cancer development. Eating a cup of chickpeas provides you with 282 micrograms of folate, or 71 percent of your daily folate requirements, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center.
Eating More Chickpeas
Chickpeas add flavor and texture to a range of dishes. Sprinkle a handful of chickpeas on a salad, or add whole or pureed chickpeas to soup. Combine chickpeas with olive oil, lime juice, shallots and cilantro for a convenient and filling salad, or use mashed chickpeas in place of mayonnaise in your sandwiches. Incorporate more chickpeas into your diet by experimenting with Indian cooking -- many popular Indian dishes, such as chana masala, feature garbanzo beans as a main ingredient.