Chickpeas are an excellent source of essential nutrients like vitamin B6 (25%), iron (34%) and magnesium (28%). Like other beans, they are rich in dietary fiber (68%) which traps bile, which contains cholesterol, and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that fiber not only helps in preventing constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders. Chickpeas are a good source of protein (38%) and when combined with a whole grain such as whole-wheat protein, they provide an amount of protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods.
Chickpeas are a very versatile legume which can be eaten cold in salads, cooked in stews. Chickpeas can also be ground into a flour called gram flour or besan, which is used frequently in Indian cuisine, ground and then shaped into patties or balls and fried as falafels or stirred into a batter and baked to make farinata.
In the Middle East, chickpeas are made into a paste and mixed with tahini, cumin and lemon then finally topped with thyme and olive oil which is eaten as a snack. Hummus has become very popular also outside the Middle East and is consumed by many Europeans and Americans regularly. A popular traditional hot beverage called halabisa consists of boiled chickpeas soaked in it's own water which is further flavoured with cumin, lemon, garlic and chili powder.