Chickpea Flour Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Chickpea flour

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Chickpea flour is made by grinding dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) into a powder. It's a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking, where it's found in dishes such as falafel and hummus. Since garbanzo beans are high in protein and fiber as well as several minerals and B vitamins, the flour is very nutritious.

Using chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour, besan, or gram flour) is an excellent way to increase your protein and fiber intake. It works well in vegan, vegetarian, omnivorous, and gluten-free dishes. Its mild, nutty flavor works well for many different recipes, both savory and sweet.

Chickpea Flour Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (92g) of chickpea flour.

  • Calories: 356
  • Fat: 6g
  • Sodium: 59mg
  • Carbohydrates: 53g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Sugars: 10g
  • Protein: 21g

Carbs

A cup of chickpea flour contains about 350 calories. Most of those calories come from carbohydrate, including 10 grams of carbs from fiber and 10 grams come from sugar. The remaining carbohydrate is starch. The estimated glycemic index of chickpea flour is 44 (making it moderately glycemic).

Fat

Most of the fat in chickpea flour is polyunsaturated fat (2.7 grams) and monousaturated fat (1.4 grams). Less than one gram is saturated fat.

Protein

One cup of chickpea flour has over 20 grams of protein, making it a smart choice if you are trying to increase your protein intake.

Vitamins and Minerals

Flour made from garbanzo beans can help you increase your intake of certain vitamins and minerals. Chickpea flour has more than 4 milligrams of iron (25% of the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA), 150 milligrams of magnesium (38% of RDI), over 2.5 grams zinc (24%), and 400 micrograms of folate (101% of RDA). Chickpea flour is also an excellent source of thiamine, phosphorus, copper, and maganese.

Health Benefits 

Using chickpea flour in place of refined wheat flour adds significant nutrition to the resulting dishes, because chickpea flour contains more protein, fiber, and vitamins than white flour. Plus, it is high in minerals that are important for strong bones and teeth and for normal muscle and nerve function.

Promotes Heart Health

Consuming a diet high in legumes may help to reduce cholesterol levels and may be a good choice for a heart-healthy diet. For example, the Mediterranean diet includes legumes and there is significant evidence (such as in this 2015 review study) of the diet's health benefits.

Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels

Foods made with chickpea flour may be beneficial for people with diabetes because the fiber helps slow down the absorption of dietary sugars.

Supports Healthy Bacteria

Chickpeas and chickpea flour contain resistant starch, which is a food source for the beneficial bacteria that live in the large intestine. These bacteria help protect the body from metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes.

Helps Prevent Neural Tube Defects

Chickpea flour is very high in a B vitamin called folate (folic acid). Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should consume plenty of folate because it helps prevent neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida.

Aids Satiety

The combination of protein and fiber means that foods made with chickpea flour are good choices for people who are seeking to lose weight. These foods keep you fuller longer and help you feel satisfied between meals so you're less likely to snack.

Supports a Gluten-Free Diet

Since chickpea flour is made from legumes, not grain, it is suitable for a gluten-free diet. However, use caution when purchasing flour because of the possibility of cross-contamination from processing or packaging equipment.

Allergies

If you have an allergy to chickpeas, you should avoid chickpea flour. Chickpea allergy often occurs in people who are also allergic to soy, peas, lentils, or hazelnuts.

If you have a diagnosed allergy to any of these foods, or you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction after consuming chickpeas, discuss your condition with your doctor to determine what is safe for you.

Adverse Effects

Acrylamide is a chemical compound that can form in certain kinds of foods after they are cooked at high heat. There is some evidence that it can be carcinogenic. While starchy foods made with chickpea flour may contain acrylamides, a study published in 2017 showed that chickpea flour produced less acrylamide than other flours.

Storage and Food Safety

Chickpea flour can be hard to find in a typical grocery store, but you may find it in the natural foods area or in an international foods section. You may also try natural foods stores and small co-ops.

Keep bags of chickpea flour at room temperature until the bag is opened. After that, reseal the bag or put the flour in a sealable container and keep in a cool dry area, or even the refrigerator. If you need to store chickpea flour or several months, it may be best to keep it in the freezer.

How to Prepare

If you can't find it in the market, you can make your own chickpea flour. Simply use a food processor or coffee grinder to pulverize dry garbanzo beans into a powder. You can also make flour from canned chickpeas. Rinse them in water, blot them dry, and spread them on a baking sheet to roast at 450 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes. Let them cool and then process them into flour.

Once you've made your flour, there are different ways to use it. While chickpea flour may not work for baking a typical loaf of yeasted bread, it will work very well for quick breads like banana bread or muffins and cakes. It has a nice nutty flavor that works in many foods.

You can use chickpea flour to make high-protein wraps and pancakes or add it to vegetarian dishes to boost the protein content. Using chickpea flour can give a nutritious boost to snack foods such as brownies and cookies. But to maintain the health benefits of the bean flour, choose recipes that are generally lower in fat, sugar, and calories per serving.

Recipes

Healthy Chickpea Flour Recipes to Try

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Article Sources
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