Hummus: Healthy or Nah?
Hummus is one of those foods that can go either way — a healthy snack or a hidden faux healthy food.
Hummus, a food usually made from mashed chickpeas and of Middle Eastern descent, can be a nutrient dense snack that is relatively high in protein and other nutrients such as zinc, folate, fiber, and more.
Typically composed of six ingredients (chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of sea salt), the contents of hummus all have health benefits linked to improved digestion, anti-inflammation, and more.
However, when things go from homemade to store bought that’s when they get tricky. Here’s how to make sure to choose a hummus, if you’re not making it at home, that still keeps its nutrient density.
Stay away from:
Potassium sorbate- used by various brands to extend shelf life, it has been seen in some studies to have a negative effect on DNA and cause mild stomach discomfort so you probably want to limit this ingredient as much as you can in your diet.
Soybean Oil and Omega 6 rich oils- Even if non-GMO, there’s an excess of omega 6 rich oils in the diet of Americans which throws off your balance between omega 3s and omega 6s which various experts claim is the culprit for many of our health woes today.
Salt- Salt has its place in the diet but too much salt does no one any good.
Artificial Additives- Basically, you want a hummus that holds close to the 5 to 6 ingredients (salt optional) mentioned above. An easy trick? Probably don’t want to choose one that isn’t in the refrigerator section, an easy sign that they have more ingredients than necessary.
Bottom Line: A food may be considered “healthy” but when it is made for mass consumption it is easy for health to take a back seat. Hummus can be a quality snack but only when a quality choice is made. If you can make hummus at home, always try to do so (here’s an easy recipe) but if buying from the store try and follow the simple guidelines above.