Hummus is a delicious and healthy Middle Eastern spread and dip that’s relatively easy to make at home. We’re dipping into the benefits of hummus and giving you a quick run-down of how to make hummus at home with your own flavors and ingredients.
What’s So Healthy About Hummus?
Hummus is traditionally made of blended chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), tahini (which is ground sesame seeds), lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. It’s full of nutrients that are scientifically linked to health benefits that we’ll explore right here.
Hummus Is Full of Vitamins and Minerals
A 3.5-ounce serving (100 grams) of hummus brings 7.9 grams of protein, 14.3 grams of carbs, 9.6 grams of fat, and 6 grams of fiber. Hummus also contains portions of the recommended daily intake (RDI) value of the following vitamins and minerals.
- Potassium: 7% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 10% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 12% of the RDI
- Zinc: 12% of the RDI
- Iron: 14% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 18% of the RDI
- Folate: 21% of the RDI
- Copper: 26% of the RDI
- Manganese: 39% of the RDI
Its content of plant-based protein makes hummus a great choice, particularly for those keeping a vegan or vegetarian diet, as protein is essential for muscle growth, tissue repair, and healthy immune functioning.
Fiber for Digestive Health and Promotion of Good Gut Bacteria
The fiber in one 3.5-ounce serving of hummus has 16% of the daily recommended fiber intake for men, and 24% of the recommended intake for women. Fiber allows our waste to bind together comfortably for easy passage out of the body and helps feed our healthy gut bacteria, which is one of the immune protections our body has in place against foreign bacteria. One study revealed that 200 grams of raffinose fiber from chickpeas added to a person’s diet over 3 weeks promoted bifidobacteria, a beneficial gut bacteria in our digestive tracks.
Fight Unhealthy and Unnecessary Inflammation
A certain amount of inflammation is necessary in the body and part of our normal healing. The burning sensation that happens when you twist your ankle is telling you to rest and drawing blood with emergency reparative supplies to the site of injury. However, when inflammation persists, it gets in the way of healing, like an ankle so swollen it stresses your skin and interrupts your life with unnecessary pain and discomfort. Conditions of chronic inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis are instances where inflammation has become harmful.
Hummus contains olive oil, which brings anti-inflammatory antioxidants, while the sesame seeds that make up tahini are associated with reducing the inflammatory markers IL-6 and CRP known to be elevated in diseases like arthritis.
Naturally Allergen Free
For those with food allergies and/or intolerances, hummus is naturally nut free, gluten free, and dairy free. It’s a very safe food to share with guests who may or may not have food allergies you’re unaware of, like celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or nut allergies that can be extremely dangerous depending on severity. Making hummus yourself guarantees that there are no problematic additives that may be contained in commercially available hummus brands.
There are several ingredients in hummus that help reduce the risk of heart disease. Chickpeas help lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol, and olive oil can bring up to a 12% lower risk of death from heart disease if consumed regularly in sufficient amounts. Another study points out that for every 2 teaspoons or 10 grams of extra virgin olive oil consumed each day, the risk of mortality from heart disease goes down by 10%.
Good for Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels
With a low glycemic index, hummus does not cause dangerous spikes in blood sugar. Chickpeas also contain antinutrients and other properties that slow down the digestion and absorption of carbs, providing for a safer, steadier release of sugar into the blood. For a comparative example, white bread releases sugar into the blood at quadruple the rate of hummus, even though they have the same amount of carbs.
Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
Studies show that those who regularly consume hummus are 53% less likely to be obese and have a lower BMI and waist size (by an average of 2.2 inches) compared to people who do not consume chickpeas or hummus regularly. While the correlation isn’t necessarily an indicator of causation (perhaps those who eat hummus are just more likely to be healthier eaters across the board), it is still an interesting scientific finding and an indication that hummus can be part of a healthy diet.
Chickpeas have also been shown to increase the levels of “fullness” hormones in the body (cholecystokinin, peptide YY, and GLP-1), while the fiber in chickpeas helps to reduce the “hunger” hormone ghrelin. Curbing appetite and hunger helps lead to weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
Easy to Include in Your Daily Diet
Lastly, hummus and all the benefits it has to offer are very easy to add to your diet, whether you buy prepared hummus or make it yourself (see below for the top tips on how to make hummus). You can use it to replace unhealthier condiments, like mayonnaise and creamy salad dressings, in sandwiches or as a crudité dip. Because of its flavor, people often find they can side-step cravings for potato chips by dipping crunchy veggies like carrots, celery, and sweet peppers into hummus instead. Widely available to buy and easy to make, hummus can quickly become part of your everyday diet.
How to Make Hummus at Home from Scratch
In a total time of about 10 minutes, and with the aid of a food processor, you can quickly prepare your own homemade hummus. First we’ll start with your basic ingredients.
Gather the Ingredients
- 2 cups of either canned chickpeas or dry (soak and drain in prep)
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
When we mentioned making hummus was an easy process, this is what we were referring to. Toss all of your ingredients into a food processor and blend at a high speed until smooth and creamy, and you’re done. Open up a bag of pita chips, and enjoy!
Refine Your Technique
There are some extra points of nuance, of course. Sometimes you’ll find that a can of chickpeas from the grocery store yields inconsistent or subpar results, and those chickpeas may not be softened enough for the smooth hummus texture you desire. That is why soaking your own dry chickpeas in cold water overnight, or cooking them with baking soda, is recommended so that you have full control of your hummus recipe. Cooking them with baking soda can work on both dry and canned chickpeas to improve their saturation and soften their texture. Plucking the skin from each chickpea will also make your hummus smoother (though it will make prep time a little bit longer).
Create Your Own Hummus Recipe
The best hummus recipe will be the one you make to suit your own tastes. The first time you make hummus, maybe you just want it plain and traditional, but the next time? It’s such an easy recipe, it’s practically begging for a more unique spin. Once you successfully make a creamy hummus, you may want to try some creative substitutions next. For example:
- If you don’t happen to have tahini on hand when you go to make your hummus on a whim, other nut butters can stand in.
- Maintain the water from cooking your chickpeas (called “aquafaba” which translates literally to “water-bean”) to act as a liquifying agent. Instead of adding more olive oil to get the final product to the right consistency, use aquafaba to maintain the flavor balance of the recipe.
- Include ground cumin for extra flavor if you so choose, and make roasted red pepper hummus by adding (you guessed it) roasted red pepper.
- In fact, if you think of other flavors you enjoy in commercial hummus, like sun-dried tomato, pesto, spinach and artichoke, jalapeño, rosemary, and sea salt, or even chipotle sauce—recreate these yourself, or get inventive and make your own!
Higher Heights of Hummus
The tasty dip/spread that is hummus can be easily made in your kitchen, which will quickly give you all the perks of its beneficial ingredients. Making hummus a regular part of your diet correlates with better digestion and improved cardiovascular health, plus it’s a naturally allergen-free treat you can share with your friends and family. Homemade hummus: blend it up and spread it around!