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Hummus is made by pureeing chickpeas with ingredients like garlic, lemon juice and tahini (sesame seed paste). The garlic and lemon add a burst of great flavor and the tahini helps create a smooth consistency.
Nutritionally speaking, chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are crammed with thiamin and vitamin B-6, two vitamins that convert food into energy. Beans in general have been linked to various health benefits, such as lower blood cholesterol. They may also help prevent cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, early lab tests show that three compounds in beans (saponins, protease inhibitors, and phytic acid) may help defend cells from the type of genetic damage that can lead to cancer.
Hummus also traditionally features tahini which contributes some additional protein (3 grams per tablespoon) and fiber (0.7 gram per tablespoon) along with monounsaturated fat (3 grams per tablespoon). Chickpeas and tahini both contribute fair amounts of calcium and iron. They also contain generous amounts of folate, vitamin E, calcium and potassium (1 cup of chickpeas has as much potassium as a small banana).