Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, originated in the Middle East and have been cultivated for over five thousand years, eventually spreading from the Mediterranean to India and Ethiopia. They are a good source of protein, iron, copper, and zinc. Additionally, chickpeas contribute to a healthy heart because of significant levels of fibre, magnesium and folate. Folate helps prevent heart disease by lowering blood levels of an amino acid called homocysteine which becomes a risk factor for heart attack, stroke or peripheral vascular disease when present in elevated levels. It is estimated that if everyone consumed 100% of the daily value of folate, the number of heart attacks suffered by Americans each year would drop by 10%.

Garbanzo beans are also an excellent source of molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is required by the body to detoxify sulfites, a preservative found in wine, preserved meats, salad-bar salads and other processed foods. Maybe put some hummus on your ham sandwich then.

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