Health Secrets of the Mediterranean Diet
Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas have been cultivated in the Mediterranean region and Middle East for thousands of years. Like other legumes, chickpeas are rich in fiber, protein, and folic acid. A 2006 study found that including chickpeas in your diet lowers both total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
To use: Try chickpeas baked with crushed tomatoes and oregano. Enjoy them in soups (such as minestrone) or add to green salads. Make hummus, the Middle Eastern appetizer, from pureed chickpeas and sesame tahini, and flavor with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and cumin. When using canned chickpeas, rinse first to cut your sodium intake.