When you think of healthy snacks, what springs to mind? If your thoughts turn toward creamy hummus (and perhaps some crunchy veggies), you’re in good company! Hummus, the delightfully dippable Mediterranean chickpea-and-tahini spread, has become a go-to snack and side dish for millions of Americans. You’re probably familiar with its impressive list of nutrients, including abundant plant-based protein, high fiber, and healthy fats.
Intriguingly, though, the benefits of eating hummus go beyond what you can spot on a nutrition facts label. Chowing down on this delicious dip can come with some positive side effects you might not have heard of. Here are six science-backed reasons to make hummus a regular part of your diet, and for even more easy meal ideas, check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
We can’t promise that a tub of hummus is a magic ticket to a healthy diet, but studies show there is a correlation between regularly eating hummus and an overall healthy daily food intake. The authors of a 2020 study in the journal Nutrients (two of whom, granted, have connections to the hummus industry) theorized that this happens naturally when hummus replaces other, less healthy foods. And certainly, in terms of calories, fats, and level of processing, hummus is a better choice than lots of other, ultra-processed snacks!
Check out these 7 Best Healthy Hummus Brands to Buy, According to Dietitians.
The effects of hummus on diet quality are broad—but they also get specific. In addition to improving overall diet choices, another study (also supported by a prominent hummus brand) found that snacking on the spread could help prevent eating dessert later in the day. In this small study, people who ate hummus in the afternoon were 20% less likely to have dessert in the evening. It may not guarantee that your mid-day hummus will keep you from the cake after dinner, but it’s food for thought!
Ever notice just how filling a little bit of hummus can be? That’s because its combination of fats, protein, and fiber are all well-known building blocks of satiation. Staying full is key to successful weight loss—so it’s not surprising that research shows hummus is a weight loss-friendly food. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences found that people who ate chickpeas and hummus were 53% less likely to be obese. Regular hummus eaters also had lower body mass index and waist circumference than non-hummus-eaters.
Make your own with The Only Authentic Hummus Recipe You’ll Ever Need.
Whether you’re living with diabetes or just feel better with steady blood sugar, you might be looking for foods that keep your blood glucose from spiking and dropping. Hummus and chickpeas (its chief ingredient) have a low glycemic index, meaning they won’t dramatically elevate your blood sugar.
In fact, one study in the Nutrition Journal showed that eating hummus raised blood sugar four times less than white bread and didn’t compromise insulin levels. So go ahead and get dipping! (And while you’re at it, check out our list of 50 best foods for diabetics.)
You’ve probably heard of probiotics, but what do you know about prebiotics? Prebiotic fiber provides “food” for the good bacteria in your gut, helping them to flourish—and ultimately creating a thriving microbiome. A healthy microbiome has been associated with a myriad of health benefits, from weight loss to better mental health.
It just so happens the chickpeas in hummus are packed with prebiotics! A 2019 study in Frontiers in Nutrition found that a 100-gram serving of chickpeas provides 60 to 75% of the suggested daily intake of prebiotic fiber.
When you’ve taken out certain foods due to allergies or intolerances, it can be tough to find things you actually like to eat. Fortunately, even on very restricted diets, hummus is usually a-ok. Most recipes contain no gluten, dairy, animal products, or anything on the list of top eight food allergens—helping you stick to your chosen non-allergenic diet protocol.
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