What are chickpeas?

Chickpeas are the seeds of Cicer arietinum, a species belonging to the family Leguminosae (or Fabaceae). In Italy, they are grown mainly in Umbria, Lazio, Tuscany and Liguria, but it is a kind of herbaceous plant widely cultivated in general throughout the Mediterranean region. A very popular culinary use of chickpeas is in the form of flour.


What are its nutritional properties?

100 grams of dried chickpeas and boiled in water, without added salt, contain 120 calories and consist of 23% from protein, 18% lipids and 59% from carbohydrates.


Specifically, 100 grams of chickpea provide approximately:

  • 63.6 g water
  • 7 g of protein
  • 2.4 g of lipids
  • 18.9 g carbohydrate
  • 16 g starch
  • 1.3 g of soluble sugars
  • 5.8 g of total fiber (5.29 g of insoluble fiber and 0.47 g of soluble fiber)
  • 5 mg sodium
  • 302 mg of potassium
  • 2.2 mg of iron
  • 58 mg of calcium
  • 148 mg of phosphorus
  • 37 mg of magnesium
  • 1.7 mg of zinc
  • 0.3 mg copper
  • 1 micrograms of selenium
  • 0.2 mg thiamine (vitamin B1)
  • 0.04 mg of riboflavin (vitamin B2),
  • 0.9 mg of niacin (vitamin B3 or vitamin PP)
  • 4 micrograms of vitamin a retinol eq.
  • traces of vitamin C and vitamin E


When should you not eat chickpeas?

There are some conditions known in which the consumption of chickpeas could interfere with medications or other substances.


Seasonality of chickpeas

Chickpeas are harvested between June and September, but since their consumption takes place after drying they are present in supermarkets throughout the year, and pre cooked canned chickpeas are widely used.


Possible benefits and drawbacks of chickpeas

Chickpeas have several beneficial properties: in addition to being excellent sources of vegetable protein, fiber and vitamins (especially B group) and two very important minerals for the body's well-being, magnesium and phosphorus, they contain many saponins, substances useful for reducing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The amount of omega-3 (especially linoleic acid fatty acids) contained in them, makes the chickpeas particularly beneficial for the heart.

There are no special contraindications, apart from some specific cases of allergies. It also advised not to consume too many chickpeas – as well as with all other legumes – in case of predisposition to intestinal problems such as colitis, which may get worse with the consumption of this food. If not properly cooked, the beans can make it more difficult to digest.