Chickpea flour is a type of flour that is obtained from the crushing of dried chickpeas, ideal for its nutritional benefits within a healthy diet and for its properties it is unique for celiacs because it does not contain gluten.
If you follow a vegetarian diet or a vegan lifestyle it is quite likely that you have already heard of or even tried chickpea flour, a food not as common as other varieties of flours but just as useful and nutritious, in addition to standing out precisely for being tremendously delicious. It is also known by the names of besan, gram or chana, and basically consists of a fine flour made from ground chickpeas.
It is part of the Indian cuisine, where in fact it stands out for having a leading role, being very easy to find in India with a wide variety of dishes and recipes where chickpea flour becomes the ingredient par excellence. In fact, it is not so well known in the West, although in our country we can find it especially in herbalists and specialized diet stores.
What are its characteristics and why is it so revered in Indian cuisine? Undoubtedly due to its texture, which becomes creamy when mixed with liquids, and due to its tremendous binding power when cooked over a fire. What’s more, chickpea flour is ideal as an egg substitute, as it helps to bind, bind and weigh the dough in the same way that, for example, the egg would.
What is chickpea flour?
As we have briefly indicated in the previous lines, we are faced with a flour that is obtained from the crushing of chickpeas. To achieve this, dried chickpeas are used directly, which when crushed, becomes a kind of fine yellow powder with a characteristic chickpea flavor.
That is, it is a much more aromatic flour and with more flavor than, for example, common wheat flour.
The nutritional benefits of chickpea flour
From a nutritional point of view, chickpea flour is a very nutritious food, especially rich in B vitamins, among which we can mention vitamin B1 or thiamine, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or niacin, B6 and folic acid or B9 (a vitamin incidentally during pregnancy for the formation, development and growth of the baby).
Also it provides other vitamins, among which distinguish the vitamin A, C and E. Did you know that it also provides interesting amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids? But its nutritional qualities do not end here, since it stands out for its high iron content, to the point that it can double the amount of iron found in meat.
On the other hand, it contains optimal amounts of fiber, becoming, as we will see below, an ideal food against constipation.
However, we can summarize the composition of chickpea flour per 100 grams in the following section:
The properties of chickpea flour
Gluten free, ideal for coeliacs
Unlike common wheat flour, chickpea flour stands out for being a type of flour that does not have any gluten, fundamentally for something very simple: it is obtained from chickpeas, and this delicious food does not have gluten in its composition.
If we take into account that chickpea flour is often used to cook doughs, such as sweets, breads and empanadas, there is no doubt that it becomes an excellent alternative to common wheat flour, ideal especially for those with intolerance or allergy. Gluten (celiac disease).
Ideal for vegans: good substitute for eggs
What’s more, it becomes an ideal ingredient to make an eggless potato omelette, replacing it with chickpea flour, water or beer, which allows for a consistency, texture and juiciness quite similar to that of a common potato omelette.
Of course, from a nutritional point of view we must not forget that the egg is rich in proteins of high biological value (also considered to be of good quality), while chickpea flour provides interesting amounts of vegetable proteins.
Useful against constipation
Chickpea flour is extremely rich in fiber, which gives it useful benefits against constipation, either to treat it naturally and aid in the healing process or simply as a preventive.
What’s more, when we consume chickpea flour on a regular basis, it helps us regulate intestinal transit.
Helps to lose weight
Chickpea flour is very rich in lecithin. Lecithin is a type of fat that helps the body to better eliminate and get rid of those fats that are not really useful for our body, helping us to better dilute them with fat.
Therefore, its consumption is adequate whether you follow a weight loss diet with the aim of reducing weight, or if you follow a healthy diet in order to maintain it.
Lowers high cholesterol
In case of high cholesterol, chickpea flour is a food that is as useful as it is adequate (and also recommended). Why? Very simple: it helps reduce high levels of fats in the blood.
What’s more, it becomes an excellent substitute for eggs when, due to the existence of high cholesterol, its consumption is medically discouraged.
Interesting for diabetics
Chickpea flour is rich in complex carbohydrates, carbohydrates that stand out for being slow absorption, which means that they take longer to be digested and do not produce sudden changes in glucose levels.
Therefore it is useful in case of people with diabetes who need to control glucose imbalances.