Benefits of Chana

Chana characteristics 

  • Excellent source of vegetable protein; 

  • Richness in dietary fiber; 

  • Promotes intestinal transit; 

  • Increases satiety effect; 

  • Preserves cardiovascular health. 

Nutritional and caloric values of Chanas 

What is a “portion” of Chanas worth? 




Focus on the micronutrients contained in Chanas 

Among the nutrients contained in good quantities in Chanas, we can mention the following: 

  • Manganese: Boiled Chanas are an excellent source of manganese. Chana flour is a good source for women and a source for men, their needs being different. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals; 

  • Copper: As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (a protein used in the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also contribute to the body’s defense against free radicals; 

  • Folate: Chanas are an excellent source of folate, Folate (vitamin B9) is involved in the production of all cells in the body, including red blood cells. This vitamin plays an essential role in the production of genetic material (DNA, RNA), in the functioning of the nervous system and the immune system, as well as in the healing of wounds. As it is necessary for the production of new cells, adequate consumption is essential during periods of growth and for the development of the fetus. 

  • Phosphorus: Chanas are a good source of phosphorus. Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays an essential role in forming and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates, among other things, in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps to maintain normal blood pH. Finally, phosphorus is one of the constituents of cell membranes. 

  • Iron: Chanas are an excellent source of iron for men and for women, their needs being different. For its part, Chana flour is a source. Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones, and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses); 

  • Zinc: Zinc participates in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds, and in the development of the fetus. It also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it collaborates in the synthesis (production), storage, and release of insulin; 

  • Magnesium: Magnesium participates in bone development, building proteins, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, dental health, and the functioning of the immune system. It also plays a role in energy metabolism and in the transmission of nerve impulses. 

  • Potassium: Boiled Chanas are a source of potassium. In the body, potassium is used to balance the pH of the blood and to stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach, thus aiding digestion. In addition, it facilitates the contraction of muscles, including the heart, and participates in the transmission of nerve impulses. 

  • Selenium: Boiled Chanas are a source of selenium. This mineral works with one of the main antioxidant enzymes, preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps convert thyroid hormones into their active form. 

  • Vitamin B1: Boiled Chanas and roasted Chanas are sources of vitamin B1, also called thiamine, this vitamin is part of a coenzyme necessary for the production of energy mainly from the carbohydrates that we ingest. It also participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and promotes normal growth. 

  • Vitamin B2: Boiled Chanas are a source of vitamin B2 for women. This vitamin is also known as riboflavin. Like vitamin B1, vitamin B2 plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to the growth and repair of tissues, the production of hormones, and the formation of red blood cells. 

  • Vitamin B6: Chanas are sources of vitamin B6. Also called pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is part of coenzymes that participate in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the synthesis (production) of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It also contributes to the production of red blood cells and allows them to carry more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. Finally, this vitamin plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in the modulation of hormonal receptors. 

The benefits of Chanas 

Chanas are widely recognized for their many health benefits. In addition to promoting satiety and intestinal transit, it is an excellent ally for preserving cardiovascular health and also contributes to the prevention of many pathologies. In addition, it is an excellent source of vegetable protein, so it is an interesting alternative to animal products. 

Benefits of legumes in general 

Studies have linked regular consumption of legumes to various beneficial effects such as better control of diabetes, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and reduced risk of colorectal cancer. National dietary guidelines also suggest eating legumes a few times a week. Finally, among the main recommendations of the Institute for Cancer Research for the prevention of cancer, the population is advised to consume mainly plant foods, including a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and low-fat cereal products. 

Richness in vegetable proteins 

Chana, like all legumes, is a food naturally rich in vegetable proteins, several vitamins and minerals and dietary fiber. In addition, it is low in fat, and like all plant foods it does not contain cholesterol. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy its flavor and benefits. 

Cardiovascular health 

A study in hypercholesterolemic animals (too high blood cholesterol levels) showed that consuming a diet containing Chanas for 16 days led to a decrease in blood levels of total cholesterol and LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), compared to the control group. These researchers believe that Chanas could be among the recommended foods for people struggling with deteriorating blood cholesterol. It should also be remembered that the consumption of legumes in general provides cardiovascular benefits. 

Impact on the intestinal flora 

One animal study showed that following a diet containing Chanas for a month led to an increase in the number of bifidobacteria (beneficial bacteria of the large intestine). Advantageous effects of these bacteria would include, for example, helping to protect against colorectal cancer, decreasing the activity of harmful bacteria, helping with the assimilation of certain nutrients such as calcium, and contributing to the immune system. The effect of Chanas on the growth of beneficial bacteria could be explained, among other things, by the presence of resistant starch. As the name suggests, this type of starch resists digestion and can therefore help beneficial bacteria to grow. 

Diabetes control 

A few animal and human studies have shown that Chana consumption elicits a lower glycemic (blood sugar level) response than that elicited by wheat-based foods or milk casein. This property makes it an advantageous food for people who suffer from diabetes and who must therefore avoid a too sudden increase in blood sugar. One of these studies, however, observed that this effect did not seem to be maintained after six weeks of daily consumption of Chanas in healthy people. However, these researchers think that it is possible that this property is more durable in people who suffer from diabetes, which will be determined in the context of future studies. 

Excellent source of dietary fiber 

Legumes are all good sources of fiber. Dietary fibers, which are found only in plant products, include a set of substances that are not digested by the body. Chanas, like all legumes, are a high source of fiber: boiled Chanas contain 4 g per 125 ml (1/2 cup) serving. A diet rich in fiber from different sources is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer and can help control appetite by bringing a feeling of satiety more quickly: this last property can be an asset for the management of body weight. . 

There are two main types of fiber (soluble and insoluble) which have different beneficial effects in the body. Chana contains mainly insoluble fiber, which is credited with the ability to prevent constipation. It is recommended to consume 25 g of fiber per day for women aged 19 to 50, and 38 g per day for men in the same age group. 

Nutritionist’s word 

Unlike animal proteins, legumes are generally low in methionine (an essential amino acid in the body), which makes their proteins incomplete. However, for people who eat little or no animal protein, it is possible to combine legumes with cereal products or nuts, which then makes it possible to obtain complete proteins (which contain all the essential amino acids). In adults, it is not necessary to seek this complementarity within the same meal, because obtaining it in the same day is usually sufficient. On the other hand, in children, adolescents and pregnant women, it is preferable to achieve protein complementarity in the same meal. 

How to choose the right Chanas? 

Chana, like other legumes, belongs to the Fabaceae family. Originally from around the Mediterranean, it is emblematic of the cuisine of certain countries such as Lebanon, for example. In India, it is easily found canned or dry. So, you have to allow time for rehydration before cooking it. 

Chanas: Dried or Canned? 

Dried Chanas must be soaked and then boiled in water before they can be eaten. People in a hurry can easily find canned Chanas, which are pre-cooked: just rinse them and add them as is to dishes. 

Choosing the right Chanas 

Chanas are more difficult to digest than lentils or legumes of the genus Vigna. Sensitive people could try the desi-type pea. You can purchase roasted Chana for easy and quick cooking from online. They are easy to prepare and require less cooking time than whole grains.  

How to prepare Chanas 

In the kitchen, Chanas have been able to reinvent themselves for many years and made a place for themselves on our plates. It is the basic ingredient of some popular recipes such as hummus or the famous Lebanese falafels. 

Cook the Chana 

  • The Indians have created many recipes for dhals (soups, purees or stews) made from Chanas. Under the name of Kala Channa, one will find in Indian grocery stores desi-type peas which are particularly suitable for these recipes. The method of preparation of dhals is almost always the same, regardless of the legume. It is first cooked in water with turmeric and, if desired, hot pepper. Then we make a kind of puree, more or less diluted, which we season with various spices (garam masala, cumin, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, mustard seeds, pepper, fenugreek, assa-foetida) previously sautéed in a pan dry or in oil, to extract the aromas. You can add raisins and coconut. 

  • In the Middle East, hummus is prepared with Chana puree, lemon juice, olive oil and sesame puree (tahini); 

  • In Israel, they make falafels, kinds of dumplings or pancakes seasoned with various herbs and spices, and fried in oil. They are served with pita bread; 

  • We will not hesitate to make salads. The possibilities in this area are endless; 

  • Chanas of both the desi type and the kabulise type germinate very well. They can be added to salads or sautéed dishes. 

Using Chana Flour in Cooking 

  • In India, they are made into Besan Puda, pancakes made from Chana flour, coriander leaves, chopped onion and chilli, cumin, turmeric and salt. They are cooked in oil like pancakes and served with tomato sauce or chutney. A variant of this last recipe, thapla is made of Chana flour, wheat flour, spices, yogurt and melted butter. The dough is kneaded, then divided into balls which are rolled out with a rolling pin and cooked in a pan; 

  • Pakoras are fritters made of a dough made from Chana flour that is stuffed with onions or aubergines and curd cheese; they are fried in oil; 

  • You can make pancakes with just Chana flour and water. Let the dough rest for half an hour before baking. 







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