18 March, 2013
According to the American Diabetes Association chick peas serve as a diabetic super food. They are filled with nutrients lacking in the typical American diet, and they will fill you up without a lot of calories. Add chick peas to your meal planning to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
A glycemic index ranks foods based on how much they increase blood sugar levels. To avoid drastic increases in blood sugar, opt for foods that have a low index, such as chick peas. According to Harvard Medical School, chick peas have an index of 10, which is significantly lower than other beans, including black beans, navy beans, soybeans and lentils. Opt for dried chick peas instead of canned ones. Canned chick peas are typically preserved in brine, which increases the index to 38.
Fiber is listed on a food label under total carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have the most significant impact on blood sugar, but fiber actually does not raise blood sugar levels because your body doesn’t digest it. If you are counting carbohydrates to plan your meals, subtract the total amount of fiber from the carbohydrates. For diet of 2,000 calories a day, you need 28 grams of fiber. A 1-cup serving of chick peas provides you with 12.5 grams. According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber slows the absorption of blood sugar and may reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Chick peas help keep your appetite under control. According to the Mayo Clinic, high-fiber foods take longer to chew. Extra chewing gives your body time to signal to your brain that you are full, so you stop eating sooner and don’t overeat. The Mayo Clinic also states fiber makes a meal feel larger than it is and keeps you feeling full longer. This prevents you from reaching for an unhealthy snack between meals with a high glycemic index that will increase your blood sugar levels.
Chick peas are a versatile bean. Top salads with chick peas or add them to pasta and rice dishes for extra protein. Roast them with a dash of garlic salt and a touch of olive oil for a healthy snack, or puree them into hummus for a vegetable dip. Dried chick peas have a lower glycemic index than canned chick peas, but canned chick peas are more convenient. If you’re pressed for time, rinse and wash off the liquid in canned beans to eliminate the salt and preservatives.
- Harvard Medical School: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for 100+ Foods
- Harvard Medical School Joslin Diabetes Center: How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Nutrient Data for 16057, Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans, Bengal Gram), Mature Seeds, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt
- Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images