Hummus Nutrition: What You Should Know

The list of health benefits is long—but watch out for a few sneaky ingredients.

There's no question about it. Hummus is a great, versatile snack. You can find all kinds of flavors at the grocery store, from black bean, roasted garlic, and coconut curry to red velvet and chocolate mint (yes, dessert hummus is a thing). But is hummus actually healthy?

Though there's no universal recipe, hummus typically stars chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) as its main ingredient. Chickpeas—and foods made with them—have exploded in popularity since the turn of the 21st century due to the rise of plant-based eating and gluten-free diets. Chickpeas, which are a member of the pulse family (along with lentils, beans, and peas, like black-eyed peas and split peas), check both of those boxes. They also happen to be incredibly eco-friendly, affordable, readily available, and versatile.

Here's what you need to know about the nutritional content of hummus, its benefits, and how to whip up a quick, delicious recipe.

Hummus Nutrition

A classic Middle Eastern dish, hummus typically consists of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil.

Make sure to check the nutritional label on whatever brand of hummus that you pick up at the grocery store because the nutritional content may vary slightly from product to product. But on average, per the Department of Agriculture, one 100-gram serving of hummus has:

  • Calories: 233 grams
  • Protein: 3.33 grams
  • Fat: 16.67 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 3.30 grams
  • Iron: 1.2 milligrams
  • Calcium: 67 milligrams
  • Vitamin C: 12 milligrams

Health Benefits of Hummus

Hummus has a number of perks that promote health, mostly due to its main ingredient, chickpeas. Here are a few ways that hummus can promote overall health.

Boosts Protein

Hummus is a great source of plant-based protein that vegetarians and vegans can incorporate into their diets. Per the National Library of Medicine, protein helps your cells repair themselves and create new cells. Protein also aids development during childhood and pregnancy.

Packs Antioxidants and Several Other Key Nutrients

The main ingredients of hummus—primarily chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil—pack antioxidants and other nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties.

For example, in one study published in 2018 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, researchers found that olive oil helps fight inflammation, which helps boost your immune system, by controlling the growth of white blood cells.

Helps Manage Weight

Due to its protein and fiber contents, hummus also helps manage weight. While it's not clear whether the weight loss benefits are due to hummus itself or the general healthy lifestyle of people who consume hummus, chickpeas may help promote fullness.

Per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, foods that pack a lot of fiber, like chickpeas, add bulkiness to your meals, which improves satiety. And likewise, the protein content of chickpeas helps increase your metabolism, which can help manage your weight.

Balances Blood Sugar Spikes

Hummus may also help offset blood sugar spikes from foods that are high on the glycemic index, which is a value system used to determine how much each food increases blood sugar, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library.

Hummus has a low glycemic index, meaning that your body digests it slower than other foods. Slowly digesting food helps maintain your blood sugar levels.

Improves Gut Health

Hummus packs a lot of fiber, which helps keep your bowel movements regular. Per the National Library of Medicine, fiber promotes digestive health by relieving constipation.

Protects Against Chronic Diseases

Chickpea consumption is also tied to protection against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

In one study published in 2020 in the journal Nutrients, researchers found many health benefits of eating hummus. Incorporating hummus into your diet lowers cholesterol, lipid, and blood pressure, which help prevent chronic diseases.

Hummus is also a key food in the Mediterranean diet, which is a diet that helps lower the risk of developing obesity, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries), cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease, kidney disease, or degenerative disease affecting the nervous system.

How Healthy Is Hummus?

As for the healthiness of hummus, it really comes down to how the spread is made. In traditional recipes, people combine pureed chickpeas with other anti-inflammatory superfoods—including extra virgin olive oil, tahini, garlic, and lemon. And even if you add sweet ingredients, like cocoa and sugar, dessert hummus served with fresh fruit is a far healthier option than other sweet treats.

In just a few minutes, you can whip up a batch of healthy homemade hummus in a blender or mini-food processor using those ingredients.

But if you buy pre-made versions, be sure to check the label. Choose brands made with extra virgin olive oil—as opposed to more inflammatory oils, like soybean oil. And skip hummus that contains preservatives. Scan the ingredient list for potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and any other words you do not recognize.

Deliciously Healthy Hummus Ideas

If you're eating hummus as a snack, maximize the health perks by scooping it up with fresh, raw vegetables rather than chips or crackers.

You can also enjoy hummus in other ways, too:

  • Use hummus as a creamy salad dressing or a mayo alternative (for bean, chicken, egg, and tuna salads).
  • Thicken sauces, soups, mashed potatoes, or cauliflower mash.
  • Try hummus as a topping for oven-roasted veggies or potatoes.

If you're really adventurous, you can even sample hummus ice cream or try a recipe for hummus cookies, blondies, or chocolate mousse. However you prefer to eat them, hummus treats are a fun and healthy way to introduce more plant-based protein, fiber, and nutrients to your diet.

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