Researchers at the Volcani Center in Israel find that colored chickpeas have significantly higher antioxidant qualities than the regular cream and beige varieties, according to a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).
The Israeli researchers separated 17 lines of chickpeas into seed parts and ground them into a fine power for analysis. The chickpeas ranged in color from black, red, brown and green to gray, yellow and beige.
Results indicate that colored chickpeas contain up to 13 times more polyphenols, up to 11 times more flavonoids and up to 31 times more antioxidant activity than do beige chickpeas.
“Darkness, yellowness, and high color intensity chickpeas contained more antioxidants,” reports lead researcher Dr. Shmuel Galili. “Given the functional food attributes of chickpeas, they might contribute significantly to the management of degenerative diseases,” he says.
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.