Is Hummus Actually As Good for You As You Think It Is?

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Photo Credit:Runner’s World

It’s made of chickpeas, which are packed with protein and fiber to help you feel full, and olive oil, a healthy fat that lowers your risk of heart disease.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
found.
“In addition, chickpeas contain a range of essential nutrients including iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin B6 and even vitamin C,” adds Palmer. And since chickpeas rank low on the glycemic index, they’re a carb that won’t send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride.
For hummus, chickpeas are mashed with tahini and olive oil, which are two good sources of healthy unsaturated fats, says Palmer. An
investigation
authored by researchers from Harvard found that plant-based monounsaturated fats—such as those in tahini and olive oil—are associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease and other causes, whereas animal-based monounsaturated fats—such as those found in meat, dairy and eggs—are
not
associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular ailments. What’s more, olive oil possesses phenolic antioxidant compounds that appear to have
anti-inflammatory powers
that help keep your heart beating strong.
Because it’s made from sesame seeds, tahini will also give you some extra protein, fiber, B vitamins, copper, zinc, and manganese, Palmer adds.
And, by the way, if you use vegetables such as baby carrots or sliced peppers as a delivery method for your hummus, you’ll be sneaking more nutrient-dense veggies into your diet to max out the health benefits. Dipping a warm pita into hummus after a hard run can deliver a double whammy of carbs and protein to
kickstart muscle recovery
.
But of course, there’s a caveat: It’s easy to go overboard on this popular dip. For store-bought hummus, a typical serving size listed on the label is about two tablespoons.

At roughly 70 calories, that looks like a very smart calorie-conscious snack option. But, let’s be real—who has ever stopped at 2 tablespoons?
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“If you eat hummus without being mindful of your portions, the calories can start to add up,” cautions Palmer—especially if you’re using dippers like pita bread or tortilla chips. Palmer suggests capping your intake at about ¼ cup, which gives you a satisfying dose of protein, fiber, and nutrients, without sending your snack time into calorie overload.
When buying store-bought hummus, watch out for brands who cut corners by using cheaper vegetable oils such as soybean or safflower instead of healthier extra-virgin olive oil–this is common. And keep an eye on those sodium numbers, since tubs can include a
surprising amount of salt
. Ideally, you want no more than 150mg of sodium in a 2-tablespoon serving. Finally, scan the ingredient list for preservatives such as potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and other items that you would never think of adding to your own hummus. “I like to see the same things in my store-bought hummus as I would in my homemade hummus,” Palmer says.
How to Eat Hummus
Of course, hummus is an excellent dip, but why stop there? Use it as a sandwich or pizza spread, a fancy burger condiment, a mayo alternative for tuna or egg salads, or whisk a couple of tablespoons with olive oil and vinegar for a creamy salad or grain bowl dressing.
The Best Hummus to Buy In Stores
Hope Foods Hummus Jalapeno Red
$8.00
Cedar’s Roasted Red Pepper Hommus
$16.00
Trader Joe’s Organic Spicy Avocado Hummus
$12.00

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