Humus is a Levantine Arab dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. This food is especially popular in Middle East but it is also served all over the world as a tasty and easy to make dish. This creamy puree can be served as part of a meze platter; with bread or vegetable crudités for dipping; as a spread or filling for pita, lavash or Turkish pita bread. It is also an excellent alternative to butter in sandwiches. Hummus can be used as a spice, added to Middle Eastern or Greek-style pilafs and stews to improve the taste.
Approximately 60 to 70 percent of hummus is water. The second most important ingredient of hummus is tahini, and the rest of the dish is made of carbohydrates and protein. Hummus contains high amounts of iron and vitamin C. Hummus also contains significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas are excellent source of protein and dietary fiber. The tahini, on the other hand, consists mostly of sesame seeds, excellent sources of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas. Garbanzo beans, used to prepare hummus, are high in protein and very low on fat. This food is very useful in vegetarian and vegan diets and like other combinations of grains and pulses, as eaten with bread it serves as a complete protein.
Hummus is usually made with olive oil, which is an excellent source of vitamin E, the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Olive oil is heart-friendly and by preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, the nutrients in olive oil help to prevent heart disease.
Humus contains different amounts of garlic, which enhance the flavor of the dish. Garlic is one of the best herbal remedies for various diseases, and it is extremely beneficial for the body. Garlic contains unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients providing numerous cardio-vascular benefits and strengthening the immune system.
The amounts of monounsaturated fats vary in different versions of hummus. Their final amount depends on the recipe used to prepare a dish.
Hummus and diet
Hummus contains up to 200 calories for 100g. A large hummus portion may contain up to 300 grams and up to 600 calories. This isn’t a true dietary food, but it contains a lot of fiber and makes one satiated, without increasing glucose levels in the blood. The best way to enjoy hummus is in moderation, and prepared at home. Ready-made packaged hummus is heavily processed and contains about twice the amount of calories.