A wooden bowl filled with chana (chickpeas) alongside various vegetables and a measuring tape

Is chana good for diabetes?

Chana, also known as chickpeas, has garnered attention in the realm of diabetes management due to its potential health benefits. Many individuals with diabetes wonder, "Is chana good for diabetes?" The answer lies in the advantageous nutritional profile of this legume.

Nutritional Composition of Chana

Chana, also known as chickpeas, is a highly nutritious legume that offers a range of health benefits, particularly for individuals managing diabetes. This versatile legume is packed with essential nutrients essential for a balanced diet.

Nutrient

Amount per 100g

Calories

164 kcal

Protein

8.9 g

Carbohydrates

27.4 g

Fiber

7.6 g

Fat

2.6 g

Vitamin B6

0.2 mg

Folate (Vitamin B9)

172 mcg

Vitamin C

1.3 mg

Vitamin K

4.6 mcg

Iron

2.9 mg

Magnesium

48 mg

Phosphorus

168 mg

Potassium

291 mg

Zinc

1.5 mg

 

 

Impact of Chana on Blood Sugar Levels

  1. Low Glycemic Index: Chana has a GI ranging from 28 to 42, depending on factors such as variety, processing, and cooking method. Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed more slowly, resulting in gradual increases in blood sugar levels. This helps prevent sudden spikes in blood glucose, making chickpeas a suitable option for individuals with diabetes.

  2. High Fiber Content: Chickpeas are rich in dietary fiber, with about 7.6 grams per 100 grams serving. Fiber plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. This gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream helps maintain steady blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of hyperglycemia.

  3. Protein Content: Chana is a good source of plant-based protein, containing about 8.9 grams per 100 grams serving. Protein has minimal effects on blood sugar levels and can help increase satiety, leading to better blood sugar control and reduced cravings for high-carbohydrate foods.

  4. Nutrient Composition: Chana contains various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which contribute to overall health and well-being. These nutrients, combined with its low GI and high fiber content, make chickpeas a nutritious option for managing blood sugar levels.

  5. Preparation Methods: How chickpeas are prepared can also influence their impact on blood sugar levels. Cooking methods such as boiling or steaming are preferable to frying, as they help preserve the nutritional value of chickpeas while minimizing added fats and calories.

Different Forms of Chana and Their Effects on Diabetes

  1. Whole Chickpeas (Cooked):

    • Effect on Diabetes: Whole cooked chickpeas have a moderate impact on blood sugar levels due to their low glycemic index (GI) and high fiber content. They are slowly digested and absorbed, resulting in gradual increases in blood glucose levels. Consuming whole chickpeas can help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in individuals with diabetes.

    • Recommended Intake: Incorporating cooked chickpeas into meals as a source of protein and fiber can aid in diabetes management. Portion control is essential to prevent excessive carbohydrate intake.

  2. Chickpea Flour (Besan):

    • Effect on Diabetes: Chickpea flour is made by grinding dried chickpeas into a fine powder. It has a lower GI compared to wheat flour, making it a better option for individuals with diabetes. However, its carbohydrate content can still impact blood sugar levels, albeit to a lesser extent than refined wheat flour.

    • Recommended Intake: Using chickpea flour as a substitute for wheat flour in cooking and baking can help lower the overall glycemic load of meals. It can be used to make dishes such as chapati, bread, pancakes, and savory snacks.

  3. Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas):

    • Effect on Diabetes: Chana dal refers to split chickpeas with the outer skin removed. While chana dal has a slightly higher GI compared to whole chickpeas due to its increased surface area, it still provides a good source of protein and fiber. It may lead to slightly faster increases in blood sugar levels compared to whole chickpeas but is generally considered suitable for diabetes management when consumed in moderation.

    • Recommended Intake: Including chana dal in soups, stews, curries, and salads can add protein and fiber to meals, helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

  4. Roasted Chickpeas:

    • Effect on Diabetes: Roasted chickpeas are a popular snack option that can be seasoned and enjoyed in place of high-carbohydrate snacks. While they are nutritious and provide protein and fiber, the added oils and seasonings used in roasting may increase their calorie and fat content. Moderation is key when consuming roasted chickpeas to prevent overconsumption of calories and potential spikes in blood sugar levels.

    • Recommended Intake: Enjoy roasted chickpeas in small portions as a crunchy snack or topping for salads and soups.

Bottom Line

Chickpeas, also called chana, can be a great addition to the diet of people with diabetes because they have many health benefits. Chana is full of fiber and protein, which can help manage blood sugar levels and overall health. Adding chana to your meals can help control blood sugar levels and improve how your body responds to insulin, which is important for people with diabetes. The fiber in chana slows down how quickly your body digests food, so your blood sugar doesn't rise too suddenly after eating.

Chana is a versatile ingredient that can be used in salads, curries, and snacks. Whether you eat whole chana, chana dal, or roasted chana, each kind has its own benefits for managing blood sugar. To get the most out of chana in a diabetes-friendly diet, try eating it with other healthy foods like vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in balanced meals.

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