Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are used in a number of Middle Eastern and African dishes. Like many beans, garbanzo beans contain healthy amounts of protein, as well as a number of other beneficial nutrients such as fiber. Dry edible beans are the leading source of vegetable protein, consumed by 14 percent of Americans on a daily basis. Garbanzo beans, like other beans, can serve as a dietary substitute for animal protein in the diet when paired with other foods.
Garbanzo beans supply 7 g of protein per 1/2 cup serving. Protein contains amino acids, building blocks for tissue and an essential nutrient for the repair of cells and building of new ones. Your body uses 20 amino acids, some of which are manufactured by your body. Nine amino acids must be consumed in foods. Missing even one essential amino acid can cause muscle breakdown to obtain the missing amino acid. Amino acids aren’t stored; you need your full complement of amino acids from protein-containing foods every day. The daily adult requirement for protein is 60 g.
The proteins found in garbanzo beans include all eight of the essential dietary amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. The only missing essential amino acid in garbanzo beans is histidine, which is necessary only for infants.
Foods considered complete proteins are those that contain all the essential amino acids. Because most vegetable protein sources contain most but not all of the essential amino acids, pairing foods supplies all the essential amino acids for a complete protein. Garbanzo beans contain all the amino acids necessary for adults. However, garbanzo beans have more of some amino acids than others, so pairing them with other foods that are complementary gives a more complete protein. Complementary foods contain high amounts of amino acids that garbanzo beans are low in. Examples of good pairing for garbanzo beans are ground garbanzo beans, called hummus, and whole-grain pita bread or garbanzo beans and brown rice. You don’t have to eat complementary foods at the same meal to get the benefit out of both, Bastyr University states.
Because vegetarians don’t eat animal products, beans are the best source of protein in their diet. Beans can also substitute for animal protein several nights a week to reduce your intake of saturated fats, which are high in animal protein sources and negligible in beans.