What is inflammation and what is it caused by?
Inflammation occurs when our bodies try to protect us against infection, illness, or injury. Inflammation is more commonly associated with conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, etc.
Those who suffer from inflammation do so for either a short period, usually lasting a couple of hours or days which is known as acute inflammation. Or, longer-lasting periods of inflammation that usually last for months or years at a time. This is known as chronic inflammation.
The process of inflammation happens when the body goes into a defensive state of trying to protect against invaders from outside such as bacteria or a virus. Your body’s natural response is for your immune system to trigger inflammation.
However, some diseases such as arthritis cause the immune system to trigger inflammation even when there is nothing to fight off. In this case, the body reacts as if regular tissues are infected when they aren’t. This can result in serious damage being caused to the tissue.
Those who suffer from inflammation endure pain and discomfort as the chemicals from the body’s white blood cells enter the blood or tissue to protect the body.
The raised blood flow can cause redness, swelling, loss of cartilage, and irritation. Fluid can leak into the tissue which can cause pain. Managing inflammation and finding ways to subside the effects can be difficult.
However, many have found that making small changes such as changing dietary habits and following an anti-inflammatory diet, is helpful. Studies show that certain foods possess anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce inflammation. An example of this is chickpeas.
The following will provide information on why chickpeas are great for combating inflammation.
What food should I avoid to manage my inflammation?
Pro-inflammatory foods should be avoided at all costs. These include highly processed or saturated foods. Foods high in sugar and artificial sweeteners, additives, processed meat, and refined carbohydrates.
Reducing inflammation can be helped by reducing the intake of pro-inflammatory foods and eating more anti-inflammatory foods. An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on eating more fruits and vegetables, most of which are rich in antioxidants that help to remove toxic substances from the body.
What should I eat to reduce inflammation?
Anti-inflammatory foods include nutrient-dense food that contains plenty of antioxidants. Legumes such as chickpeas are great for reducing inflammation. Not only are they high in fiber, but they are also low-glycemic carbohydrates packed with protein.
Are chickpeas anti-inflammatory?
Chickpeas are a popular choice of food for many, especially vegetarians and vegans. Their popularity rests on their nutritional value and health benefits. With a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and high fiber content, many consume chickpeas for their multi-function health benefits as well as their nutty taste and bean-like texture.
Some would argue that legumes such as chickpeas cause inflammation as they contain lectins (a toxic protein) that are difficult to break down. Whilst this is true, lectins can be neutralized by soaking and cooking the legumes making them perfectly safe to eat without causing harm.
Packed with anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants, fiber, and protein, chickpeas are a fantastic food for combating inflammation.
What anti-inflammatory properties do chickpeas have?
Chickpeas offer a high source of protein fiber, antioxidants, zinc, and iron. All of which support numerous health benefits from healthy bones to healthy blood flow. Legumes such as chickpeas are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They contain phytonutrients that help lower CRP (an inflammatory protein), making them a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet.
Tips For Eating Chickpeas
The average consumption of chickpeas should range from 2 or more cups of chickpeas a week. The following shows numerous ways in which chickpeas can be enjoyed.
- Add cooked chickpeas seasoned with fresh herbs to a vegetable salad.
- Use chickpea flour to add fiber and protein to your baked goods.
- Blend chickpeas with tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon, and chili to make a delicious hummus dip.
- Replace a meat stew or curry with chickpeas to add nutrients and a rich nutty flavor.
- Season and roast chickpeas with a blend of spices for a tasty side or snack.
- Use chickpeas seasons with garlic, cumin, and coriander to make some crispy falafel.
How To Eat Chickpeas: Anti-Inflammatory Chickpea Recipe
The great thing about chickpeas is that they can be easily incorporated into any diet. They serve as a popular addition to curries, salads, or pureed into spreads or hummus, the potential is endless.
Turmeric Chickpea Skillet
- 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 whole broccoli
- 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
- 2 inches of fresh turmeric root, grated
- 2 inches of fresh ginger root, grated
- 1 whole fresh red chili thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can of chickpeas or 1 cup of chickpeas thoroughly rinsed and drained
- 2 cups of light coconut milk
- Fresh cilantro for serving
- In a large pan, start by heating the olive oil on medium heat.
- Thinly slice your onion and florets of broccoli and add to the pan with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes until soft.
- Add your fresh turmeric, ginger, garlic, chili, ground black pepper, and ground turmeric to the pan.
- Continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
- Finally, add the coconut milk and chickpeas and bring to a low boil.
- Leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Serve with a wedge of lemon and a sprinkle of cilantro.
This dish is great if you’re looking for some comfort food packed with anti-inflammatory properties and full of nutrients and antioxidants. Not only does it feature chickpeas and all the benefits they come with, but it also contains turmeric, and broccoli, both of which work brilliantly for combating inflammation.
Combining anti-inflammatory foods in this way is a great way to ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients in your diet.
Never eat raw chickpeas as they contain toxins. Always soak and cook chickpeas to remove substances that could cause gastrointestinal discomfort.