Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip that is taking America by storm. According to the U.S. food retailers report, what used to be a -million dollar business a little more than a decade ago, has now blossomed into a 0-million hummus industry. There’s a pretty good reason for. First, it has a creamy texture and an addictively delicious taste. Second, hummus is a nutritional powerhouse.
This simple dip made from chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and salt packs a whole lot of punch, pair it with warm pita or other flatbread and you’ve got a winner. Not a big hummus fan? Well, here are some pretty good reasons to start picking up a hummus habit.
1. It lowers cholesterol and reduces heart disease. Chickpeas, the main ingredient of hummus, has a very high fiber content. Compared to other sources, chickpeas contains about a third of soluble fiber that lowers LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. Chickpeas are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids namely polyunsaturated fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acids, known to be good for the heart. In addition to the chickpeas, the olive oil in hummus is also rich in monounsaturated fats that reduces artery-clogging lipids in the blood. Including hummus in your daily diet can significantly lower cholesterol levels and reduce cardiovascular risks.
2. It is a cancer-fighting super food. The insoluble fibers found in chickpeas provide extra amounts of energy to colon cells, keeping them strong, active and healthy. This means lower risk of colon problems, including colon cancer. Meanwhile, olive oil is also rich in anti-oxidant polyphenols and lipid oleic acids known to reduce inflammation and fight certain cancers.
3. It promotes weight management and busts belly fat. Hummus is rich in protein, stomach-filling fiber and slow digesting carbohydrates. That means when you snack on hummus, you stay fuller and more satisfied for longer periods. The protein and good fat in hummus gives a good energy boost, increases the body’s fat burning potential, helps curb cravings and even balances blood sugar levels.
Hummus is indeed a great addition to your diet, however it is also important to remember to watch your portions and be careful what you pair it with. Whole wheat pita, flat breads and raw veggies are excellent choices, crispy bacon, not so much. Enjoy other hummus varieties like sundried tomato or basil hummus, if you are buying from a store, make sure you get the ones with extra virgin olive oil or fat-free yogurt.