08 July, 2011
Is Hummus Good for You?
Hummus is a type of bean dip. The name "hummus" originates from the Arabic word for chickpeas, and has been eaten in the Middle East for centuries. Whether you are trying to include more fiber and beans in your diet, or just curious whether including hummus in your diet is wise, learning the nutritional facts and benefits of hummus may help you make your decision.
Ingredients and Serving Size
There are many variations of hummus, but classic hummus contains a pureed mixture of cooked chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, citrus juice, tahini pasta and olive oil. You may also enjoy hummus flavored with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes or other seasonings for variety. The standard USDA serving of hummus is just 1 tbsp., making it important that you measure your hummus portions to avoid consuming double or triple the serving size.
A 1 tbsp. serving of commercially prepared hummus has 25 calories, according to the standard established by the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. Of those calories, 11.6, or 46 percent are from fat. The fat in hummus is primarily polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, with just 0.2 g of unhealthy saturated fats. A tablespoon of hummus has 1 g of fiber, 1.18 g of protein and 2 g of carbohydrates per serving. The hummus only has 57 mg of sodium per 1 tbsp.
The healthy fat and low levels of saturated fat makes hummus a good snack or side dish. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help keep your brain healthy, provide nourishment to your cells and help keep your heart healthy. The fiber from the chickpeas helps you stay full, as well as aids in your digestion. You need between 45 to 65 percent of your calories, or 203 to 293 g from carbohydrates, if you follow an 1,800 calorie diet. The 2 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon of hummus are healthy complex carbohydrates. Hummus has no sugar and relatively little sodium, which helps you keep your diet on track.
Including hummus in your diet is a good choice, provided you monitor the amount you eat and carefully select the foods you pair with the hummus. Choose 100-percent whole wheat crackers made with shredded wheat, whole-wheat pita bread, flat bread, or whole-grain bagel chips to increase the nutritional value of your snack. For added nutrition, dip raw vegetables instead of crackers into hummus. If you make hummus at home, replace the oil with fat-free yogurt on occasion to reduce the calories from fats. Read the label on commercially prepared hummus, as there are often variations in the calories, sodium and fat content between brands.
- Utah Department of Health: Bean Recipes
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Hummus, commercially prepared
- HelpGuide.org: Easy Tips for Planning a Healthy Diet and Sticking to It
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- University of Missouri Extension; Whole Grain Handout; 2006
- martiapunts/iStock/Getty Images