Can you eat garbanzo beans raw?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat garbanzo beans raw?”, and what are the benefits of eating garbanzo beans?

Can you eat garbanzo beans raw?

No, you cannot eat garbanzo beans raw unless they are tinned or canned. Raw garbanzo beans are rich in indigestible sugars known as oligosaccharides. Such sugars can lead to stomach discomfort if consumed in sufficient amounts (2).

Most pulses seeds have also some compounds (antinutritional factors) such as some enzyme inhibitors (trypsin and chymotrypsin protease inhibitors), phytic acid, lectins and saponins, and some different allergens etc. besides protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The compounds are named as secondary metabolites which synthesize in plants as a consequence of frequent bioactivities and sometimes may cause some health problems. Most of these antinutritional compounds can be reduced or eliminated to some degree by different cooking techniques such as pressure cooking or any other else (2). Fermentation process represents an alternative technique for improving the nutrient values of legumes and cereals besides maintaining the acceptability of sensory properties (3). 

Moreover, raw garbanzo beans contain Lectin. This toxin causes diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. Moreover, many members of the lectinic protein family agglutinate (clump together) red blood cells (2). Soaking and cooking chickpeas reduce the number of indigestible sugars and the amount of lectin (3).

Eating raw garbanzo beans, due to their rich fiber content, can cause constipation, gas, and blockages in the gut, all of which make for a super unpleasant experience. There is recent evidence that low fiber intake does not equate to constipation. Patients with chronic constipation also have similar fiber intake to controls. Patients with chronic constipation may also have worsening symptoms when dietary fiber intake is increased (5).

Last but not least, eating the rock-hard raw garbanzo beans could potentially damage your teeth, dislodge your jaw joint or wear down the tooth enamel (4).

Dry bean, the world’s most important edible food legume representing 50% of the grain legumes consumed world-wide, is susceptible to a number of diseases that seriously diminish yield and seed quality (1).

How to cook chickpeas?

Wash the chickpeas to remove any dirt, natural toxins, and pesticide residues. Then soak them overnight or for several hours. Boil the chickpeas for 2 hours or cook them for an hour in the pressure cooker, or for 4 hours on high what in a slow cooker.

Nutrition

According to the USDA, a cup of chickpeas provides the following nutrients. 

Nutrients Amount in 1 cup of chickpeasTrusted Source (164 g)RequirementsTrusted Source
Energy (calories)2671,800–3,200
Protein (g)14.446–56
Fat (g)4.220–35% of daily calories should be fat
Carbohydrate (g) 44.7, including 7.8 g of sugar130
Fiber (g)12.522.4–33.6
Calcium (mg)80.41,000–1,300
Iron (mg)4.78-18
Magnesium (mg) 78.7310–420
Phosphorus (mg)274700–1,250
Potassium (mg)4744700
Zinc (mg)2.58–11
Copper (mcg)0.6890–900
Selenium (mcg)6.155
Vitamin C (mg)2.175-90
Folate (mcg)280400
Choline (mg)69.7425–550
Beta carotene (mcg)26.2700-900
Vitamin E (mg) 0.615
Vitamin K (mcg)6.675–120

Benefits of eating garbanzo beans 

Diabetes 

A single cup (164 grams) of chickpeas or garbanzo beans provides 12.5g of fiber. Consuming a high fiber diet has been linked with a reduced risk of developing diabetes 2. 

Studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory properties of fiber can help prevent diabetes type 1. Fiber keeps the blood sugar levels in check. Pulses provide a potential benefit to glycemic control including slow release of carbohydrate and a high fiber content (6).

Bone health 

Chickpeas are a good source of iron, calcium, and other nutrients that are important to maintain a healthy bone density. Being also a source of vitamin C, it improves iron absorption and promotes bone health (2). Regular use of chickpeas may reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis in older age. 

Pulses are source of isoflavones, which stimulate the activity and proliferation of bone-building cells, namely, osteoblasts, to maintain bone mass against the action of osteoclast cells, which release acid and enzyme to dissolve bone (6).

Blood pressure 

A single cup of chickpeas (164 grams) provides 474 mg of potassium. Include dry chickpeas in your diet to fulfill your daily potassium intake. In addition, high fiber intakes are associated with reduced blood pressure (2). Random clinical trials as well as meta-analyses have suggested diets containing pulses have a positive effect on blood pressure by lowering systolic and mean arterial blood pressure (6).

Avoid the canned chickpeas that have insanely high sodium levels. It is important to keep your sodium intake in check if you have hypertension. Experts recommend increasing the intake of potassium to balance the blood sodium levels. 

Heart health 

Nutrients like fiber, potassium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium are essential to maintain a healthy heart (2). 

Chickpeas are jam-packed with all of these nutrients. Due to their zero-cholesterol content, chickpeas reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk of developing heart diseases.

The fundamental role of pulses in prevention of hypertension and CVDs has been validated and hence, their consumption has been highly recommended by Heart and Stroke Foundation and other health organizations for the management and treatment of  hypertension and CVDs (6).

Cancer 

Antioxidants are required by the cells to fight off free radicals produced as a result of metabolism. 

The antioxidants in chickpeas, namely selenium and beta carotene, along with their fiber content, may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Anti-cancer properties of pulses may also be attributed to their mineral content including zinc and selenium which decrease oxidative stress and inhibit development of tumor cells. Biologically active components of pulses like saponins, phytic acid, protease inhibitors and tannins appear to be responsible for the anticancer effect (6).

Cholesterol 

Chickpeas have been found to lower blood LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. This is attributed to the rich fiber content of chickpeas.  Legume consumption has been found to lower total cholesterol as well as LDL. Mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids and sterols of pulses help in increasing HDL cholesterol while lowering both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol (6).

Mental health

Only a single cup of chickpeas provides 69.7 mg of choline. This essential nutrient uplifts mood, improves memory, regulates metabolism, and is needed for muscle control (7). 

A deficiency of selenium has been associated with cognitive decline. Consuming chickpeas can lower your risk of developing a selenium deficiency due to its ample selenium content. Choline in chickpea aids in brain and spinal cord development and also building healthy nerves (7).

Digestion and regularity 

Chickpeas are packed with fiber that improves bowel movements and is important for a healthy gut (7).

Weight management 

Taking a rich fiber diet makes you feel full for longer as a result of which you do not overreact. Chickpeas are a good source of fiber and they can help curb your appetite and reach weight loss goals (2).

Anemia 

Chickpeas are a good source of iron and vitamin C. Iron is needed by the red blood cells to carry oxygen and Vitamin C is crucial for the absorption of iron. So, eating a diet rich in both of these nutrients, such as chickpeas, can reduce the risk of anemia (2,7).

Other FAQs about Beans  that you may be interested in.

Can you cook different beans together?

Can my dog eat beans and rice?

What happens when adding vanilla beans to beer?

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat garbanzo beans raw?”, and what are the benefits of eating garbanzo beans?

References

  1. Boersma, J. G., et al. Impact of common bacterial blight on the yield, seed weight and seed discoloration of different market classes of dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Canad J Plant Sci, 2015, 95, 703-710.
  2. Parca, Filiz, Yakup Onur Koca, and U. N. A. Y. Aydın. Nutritional and antinutritional factors of some pulses seed and their effects on human health. Int J Second Metab, 2018, 5, 331-342.
  3. Bujang, Aishah, and Nurul Akmal Taib. Changes on amino acids content in soybean, garbanzo bean and groundnut during pre-treatments and tempe making. Sains Malays, 2014, 43, 551-557.
  4. Constantino, Paul Joseph, Oscar Borrero‐Lopez, and Brian R. Lawn. Mechanisms of tooth damage and Paranthropus dietary reconstruction. Biosurf Biotribol, 2018, 4, 73-78.
  5. Ho, Kok-Sun, et al. Stopping or reducing dietary fiber intake reduces constipation and its associated symptoms. World J Gastroenterol WJG, 2012, 18, 4593.
  6. Kapoor, Sonia. Bioactives and therapeutic potential of legumes: A review. Int J Pharm Biol Sci, 2015,  5, 65-74.
  7. Kaur, Puneet, Loveneet Kaur, And Ajaypal Singh. Ethnobotanical And Pharmaceutical Properties Of Medicinal Herb Cicer Arietinum-A. Int J Life Sci Res, 2019, 7, 467-480.