Can you eat chickpeas raw?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat chickpeas raw?” with an in-depth analysis of the adverse effects of eating raw chickpeas, nutritional components of chickpeas, how to safely prepare chickpeas and different types of chickpeas. 

Can you eat chickpeas raw?

No, you can not consume raw chickpeas as they are composed of toxins and sugars that make them difficult to ingest. Eating chickpeas raw can lead to digestive problems, stomach issues, and more. However, you can have canned chickpeas and other canned legumes without cooking them again.

Adverse effects of eating raw chickpeas

Eating raw chickpeas can lead to multiple adverse effects, some of which are described below:

Stomach aches

Consumption of raw chickpeas can provoke stomach aches as they are composed of oligosaccharides- an indigestible form of sugars. While oligosaccharides are completely natural, and safe to consume for most people, they can cause stomach discomfort in some people. 

However, properly cooking chickpeas decreases the number of oligosaccharides present in them, which inhibits the occurrence of digestive problems.

Lectin exposure 

Raw chickpeas contain the highest amounts of lectin- a toxin that occurs naturally in all plants. Consumption of lectin can cause diarrhoea, stomach aches, nausea, and more complications. 

However, they can be destroyed by soaking and cooking the dried chickpeas, making them completely safe to consume.

Digestive problems

Chickpeas contain high amounts of fibre, which is strictly linked with the primary function of our bowels. Eating a diet high in fibre may lead to constipation, gas and painful blockages.

Tooth damage

Before cooking, chickpeas are hard or extremely crunchy making them difficult to eat. Eating them raw can wear down the enamel of your teeth and cause jawbone discomfort.

How to safely prepare chickpeas?

To avoid any harmful effects from eating chickpeas it is important to cook them thoroughly, and properly. Here is how you can safely cook dried chickpeas:

Rinsing

  • Toss the dried chickpeas in a container or colander.
  • Rinse them with warm water to wash any preservatives, toxins, debris or pesticides. 
  • Once they are thoroughly rinsed, dry them with a paper towel.

Soaking 

  • Put the dried chickpeas in a large bowl of water.
  • Cover them and let them soak for a few hours, or overnight.

Cooking

Thoroughly boil the dried chickpeas. Be sure your chickpeas are cooked well by mashing one with a spoon or fork. If it does not mash easily or makes a crunch, it needs to be cooked for some more time.

Once boiled, you can then use chickpeas to prepare any sort of meal. You can either eat them right away, or add them to a stew or soup, roast them, or whatever else you prefer.

Nutritional components of chickpeas

Chickpeas are rich in nutrients. They are highly beneficial for vegans and vegetarians as they provide a good amount of protein, B vitamins, iron, and selenium.

Nutrients Amount in 1 cup of chickpeas
Energy 267 calories
Fats 4.2 grams
Protein 14.4 g
Carbohydrates 44.7 g
Calcium 80.4 mg
Fibre 12.5 g
Iron 4.7 mg
Phosphorus 274 mg
Magnesium 78.7 mg
Potassium 474 mg
Copper 0.6 mcg
Zinc 2.5 mg
Selenium 6.1 mcg
Folate 280 mcg
Vitamin C2.1 mg
Choline 69.7 mg
Beta carotene 26.2 mcg
Vitamin K6.6 mcg
Vitamin E 0.6 mg

Health benefits of chickpeas

When properly cooked, chickpeas provide a lot of health benefits, some of which are described below:

  • Chickpeas contain good amounts of iron, calcium, and other nutrients that all contribute to the strength and healthy bone structure. They help to prevent osteoporosis.
  • The presence of iron, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and selenium in chickpeas support heart health.
  • Chickpeas do not contain cholesterol so pose no risk of heart disease. 
  • Chickpeas contain selenium and beta carotene that act as antioxidants. Thus,  help the body in removing free radicals.
  • Chickpeas contain a good amount of choline, which plays a part in muscle control, learning, mood, and memory, as well as helps in the body’s metabolism. It also helps with brain and nervous system function. 

Different types of chickpeas

Depending on the type of plant, there are different varieties of chickpeas:

  • Kabuli: Kabuli chickpeas are big in size and beige in colour with a thin coat. They have a mild nutty and buttery taste. These types of chickpeas are more common in American supermarkets. 
  • Desi: Desi chickpeas are smaller in size than Kabuli chickpeas. They are darker with yellow centres, have a thicker, more nutritious seed coat than the Kabuli chickpeas and are popular worldwide.
  • Green: Green chickpeas are younger forms with a sweet taste, somewhat like green peas.

Conclusion

In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat chickpeas raw?” with an in-depth analysis of the adverse effects of eating raw chickpeas, nutritional components of chickpeas, how to safely prepare chickpeas and different types of chickpeas. 

References

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/eat-raw-chickpeas-8386.html
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280244#risks
https://www.liveeatlearn.com/chickpeas/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.