Coloured chickpeas: the next functional food

Wednesday, 03 March, 2010 | Supplied by: AIFST

Coloured chickpeas have significantly higher antioxidant qualities than the regular cream and beige colour varieties, according to a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.

Known to be high protein, chickpeas are the second most important pulses in the world, with crops grown in more than 37 countries. Legumes also offer health-benefiting antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids, which positions them as a functional food.

Researchers from the Volcani Centre in Israel looked at 17 lines of chickpeas ranging from black, red, brown, green, rubiginous, grey, yellow and beige. The chickpeas were separated into seed parts and ground into a fine powder for analysis. Results indicated that coloured chickpeas contained up to 13 times more polyphenols, up to 11 times more flavonoids and up to 31 times more antioxidant activity than beige chickpeas.

“Darkness, yellowness and high colour intensity chickpeas contained more antioxidants,” according to lead researcher Dr Shmuel Galili. “Given the functional food attributes of chickpeas, they might contribute significantly to the management of degenerative diseases.”

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