Hummus is an incredibly popular Middle Eastern dip and spread.
It is typically made by blending chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor.
Not only is hummus delicious, but it is also versatile, packed with nutrients, and has been linked to several impressive health and nutritional benefits.
Here are 8 scientifically-proven benefits of hummus.
1. Hummus is nutritious and packed with plant-based protein
You can feel good about eating hummus, as it contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of hummus provides:
- Calories: 166
- Fat: 9.6 grams
- Protein: 7.9 grams
- Carbs: 14.3 grams
- Fiber: 6.0 grams
- Manganese: 39% of the recommended daily intake
- Copper: 26% of the recommended daily intake
- Folate: 21% of the recommended daily intake
- Magnesium: 18% of the recommended daily intake
- Phosphorus: 18% of the recommended daily intake
- Iron: 14% of the recommended daily intake
- Zinc: 12% of the recommended daily intake
- Thiamin: 12% of the recommended daily intake
- Vitamin B6: 10% of the recommended daily intake
- Potassium: 7% of the recommended daily intake
Hummus is a great source of plant-based protein, providing 7.9 grams per serving.
Suggested read: Top 15 sources of plant-based protein
This makes it an excellent option for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Consuming enough protein is essential for optimal growth, recovery, and immune function.
In addition, hummus includes iron, folate, phosphorus, and B vitamins, all of which are important for vegetarians and vegans, as they may not get enough from their diet.
Summary: Hummus provides a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. It is also a great plant-based source of protein, which makes it a nutritious option for vegans and vegetarians.
2. Hummus may help fight inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s way to protect itself from infection, illness, or injury.
However, sometimes inflammation can persist longer than necessary. This is called chronic inflammation, and it has been linked to many serious health problems.
Hummus is packed with healthy ingredients that may help combat chronic inflammation.
Olive oil is one of them. It’s rich in powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory benefits.
In particular, virgin olive oil contains the antioxidant oleocanthal, which is believed to have similar anti-inflammatory properties as common anti-inflammatory medicines.
Similarly, sesame seeds, which make up tahini, may help reduce markers of inflammation in the body like IL-6 and CRP, which are elevated in inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
Moreover, many studies have shown that consuming a diet rich in legumes like chickpeas reduces blood markers of inflammation.
Summary: Hummus contains chickpeas, olive oil, and sesame seeds (tahini), which are proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Hummus promotes your digestive health
Hummus is a great source of dietary fiber, which can improve digestive health.
It provides 6 grams of dietary fiber per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), which is equal to 24% of the daily fiber recommendation for women and 16% for men.
Thanks to its high fiber content, hummus can help keep you regular. This is because dietary fiber helps soften and add bulk to stools so that they are easier to pass.
What’s more, dietary fiber also helps feed the healthy bacteria that live in your gut.
One study found that adding 200 grams of chickpeas (or raffinose fiber from chickpeas) to the diet for three weeks helped promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as bifidobacteria while suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria.
Some of the fiber in hummus may be converted by gut bacteria into short-chain fatty acid butyrate. This fatty acid helps nourish the colon cells and has many impressive benefits.
Laboratory studies have shown that butyrate production is linked to a lower risk of colon cancer and other health problems.
Summary: Hummus is a great source of fiber, which can help keep you regular. Additionally, chickpea fiber may promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which produce butyrate — a type of fatty acid that helps nourish cells in the gut.
4. Hummus may help control blood sugar levels
Hummus has several properties that may help control your blood sugar levels.
First, hummus is made mostly from chickpeas, which have a low glycemic index (GI).
The glycemic index is a scale that measures the ability of foods to raise blood sugar.
Foods with a high GI value are quickly digested and then absorbed, causing a sharp spike and fall in blood sugar levels. Conversely, foods with a low GI value are slowly digested and then absorbed, causing a slower and more balanced rise and fall in blood sugar levels.
Hummus is also a great source of soluble fiber and healthy fats.
Chickpeas are rich in protein, resistant starch, and antinutrients, which slow down the digestion of carbs.
Fats also help slow down the absorption of carbs from the gut, which, in turn, provides a slower and more steady release of sugar into the bloodstream.
For example, research has shown that white bread releases four times more sugar into the blood after a meal than hummus, despite providing the same amount of carbs.
Summary: Hummus has a low glycemic index, which means it slowly releases sugar into the bloodstream. This is also aided by the resistant starch, fat, and protein it contains.
5. Hummus may help reduce heart disease risk
Heart disease is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths worldwide.
Hummus contains several ingredients that may help reduce risk factors for heart disease.
In a five-week-long study, 47 healthy adults consumed either a diet with added chickpeas or a diet with added wheat. After the study, those who ate extra chickpeas had 4.6% lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels than people eating extra wheat.
Suggested read: The top 9 nuts to eat for better health
Additionally, a review of 10 studies with over 268 people concluded that a diet rich in legumes like chickpeas reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 5%.
Aside from chickpeas, hummus is also a great source of heart-healthy fats from olive oil.
An analysis of 32 studies with over 840,000 people found that those with the highest intake of healthy oils, especially olive oil, had a 12% lower risk of death due to heart disease and an 11% lower risk of death overall.
Another study found that for every 10 grams (about 2 tsp) of extra virgin olive oil consumed per day, the risk of heart disease decreased by an extra 10%.
While these results are promising, more long-term studies about hummus are needed.
Summary: Hummus contains chickpeas and olive oil — two ingredients that may reduce risk factors, and thus overall risk, for heart disease.
6. Hummus promotes weight loss and helps you maintain a healthy body weight
Several studies have examined how hummus affects weight loss and maintenance.
Interestingly, according to a national survey, people who regularly consumed chickpeas or hummus were 53% less likely to be obese.
They also had a lower BMI and their waist size was an average of 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) smaller than people who did not regularly consume chickpeas or hummus.
That said, it’s not entirely clear if these results were due to specific properties of chickpeas or hummus or simply that people who eat these foods live a generally healthy lifestyle.
Other studies have also linked a higher intake of legumes like chickpeas to lower body weight and improved satiety.
Hummus has several properties that can help promote weight loss.
Suggested read: How to lose weight fast in 3 simple steps
It is a great source of dietary fiber, which has been shown to boost levels of the fullness hormones cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide YY and GLP-1. Moreover, dietary fiber has also been shown to reduce levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
By curbing the appetite, fiber may help reduce your calorie intake, which promotes weight loss.
Additionally, hummus is a great source of plant-based protein. Research has shown that a higher protein intake can help curb appetite and boost your metabolism.
Summary: Hummus is a great source of fiber and protein, which may promote weight loss. Surveys have shown that people who consume chickpeas or hummus regularly are less likely to be obese, plus have a lower BMI and smaller waist circumference.
7. Hummus is great for people with intolerances, as it’s naturally gluten-, nut- and dairy-free
Food allergies and intolerances affect millions of people worldwide.
People who suffer from food allergies and intolerances struggle to find foods they can eat that won’t cause uncomfortable symptoms.
Fortunately, hummus can be enjoyed by nearly everyone.
It is naturally gluten-, nut- and dairy-free, which means it suits people who are affected by common conditions like celiac disease, nut allergies, and lactose intolerance.
Suggested read: 21 common signs of gluten intolerance
Although hummus is naturally free of these ingredients, it’s still wise to read the full list of ingredients, as some brands may add preservatives or other ingredients.
Additionally, note that chickpeas are high in raffinose, a type of FODMAP. People who are sensitive to FODMAPs, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome, should be careful not to overindulge in hummus.
Also keep in mind that hummus contains sesame seed paste, also known as tahini. Sesame seeds are a common allergen in the Middle East.
Summary: Hummus is naturally gluten-, dairy- and nut-free, which makes it an excellent choice for people with certain allergies and intolerances. However, people who are sensitive to FODMAPs or allergic to sesame seeds should limit or avoid it.
8. Hummus is easy to add to your diet
Not only is hummus nutritious and tasty, but it’s also easy to add to your diet — there are seemingly endless ways you can use hummus.
Spread it onto your favorite wrap, pita pocket, or sandwich instead of other high-calorie spreads like mayonnaise or creamy dressings.
Hummus also makes a tasty dip and is best paired with crunchy foods like celery, carrots, cucumbers, and sweet peppers. Many people find this satisfies potato chip cravings.
Although hummus is widely available in supermarkets, it’s incredibly easy to make at home.
The entire process takes under 10 minutes and only requires a food processor.
How to make hummus
- 2 cups of canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 1/3 cup of tahini
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- A pinch of salt
- Place the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Enjoy it on wraps, sandwiches, or as a tasty dip.
Summary: Hummus is nutritious, versatile, and very easy to make. Simply add the ingredients above into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern dip and spread that is packed with vitamins and minerals.
Research has linked hummus and its ingredients to a variety of impressive health benefits, including helping fight inflammation, improving blood sugar control, better digestive health, lower heart disease risk, and weight loss.
Moreover, hummus is naturally free of common food allergens and irritants, such as gluten, nuts, and dairy, which means it can be enjoyed by most people.
Add hummus to your diet by following the recipe above — it’s incredibly easy to make and takes fewer than ten minutes.
All in all, hummus is a super simple, healthy, and delicious addition to your diet.