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Potassium in Chickpeas

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This article is medically reviewed on October 7, 2021 by:

Picture of Angelica Neison, MD

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What is potassium?

Chickpeas nutrition

How much potassium do I need?

How to get more potassium in your diet?

Who should eat low potassium foods?

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are legumes used in all types of dishes: hummus, stews, pasta, baked goods, etc. Even the canned chickpea water can be whipped and used as a vegan meringue. This makes chickpeas a very versatile food, which is also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium.

Did you know that people who eat Western diet foods often don’t consume enough potassium? This is because the Standard American Diet includes mainly processed foods high in sodium, and neglects whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

In this article we look into the high and low-potassium diets, the importance of potassium for our health, the nutritional profile of chickpeas, and how to eat more of them.

Let’s dive in!

What is potassium?

Potassium is a mineral that is present in all body tissues and is required for normal cell functions, as it regulates the fluid volume inside the cells. The kidneys control how much potassium remains in the body and what amount is excreted. Typically, 90% of ingested potassium is absorbed and used, and the rest is excreted through the urine, sweat, and stools. [1]

Evidence suggests that eating enough potassium is associated with the following health benefits [2] [3] :

  • Reduce high blood pressure in hypertension patients
  • Reduced risk of incident stroke
  • Reduced risk of heart disease (cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease)
  • Slow down kidney disease progression (in early stages of chronic kidney disease)
  • Protect against age-related bone loss

potassium foods

With that in mind, potassium deficiency may cause the following symptoms [4] :

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps/weakness
  • Constipation
  • Very severe deficiency (hypokalemia) may cause muscle paralysis and irregular heart rate

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Chickpeas nutrition

According to the USDA FoodData Central, 100 grams of chickpeas have 210 calories and contain 25.5 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber, 8.9 grams of fat, and 8.2 grams of protein. [5]

Besides, chickpeas are a good source of the following micronutrients and dietary compounds:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • B-group vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Beta-carotene
  • Oleic and linoleic acid

Due to the nutritional value and the abundance of micronutrients in chickpeas, regular chickpea consumption may have beneficial effect on the following health conditions [6] :

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Digestive diseases

Find out more: Water Chestnut: Are They Healthy How to Cook Them

chickpeas potassium

How much potassium is in chickpeas?

Potassium content in 100 grams of chickpeas may vary according to their type:

  • Canned chickpeas: 240 mg potassium [7]
  • Dried chickpeas: 289 mg potassium [8]
  • Cooked (boiled) chickpeas: 168 mg potassium [9]
  • Chickpea flour: 846 mg potassium [10]

This makes chickpeas a potassium-rich food. They can also be a great food option for a high-potassium diet.

How much potassium do I need?

Healthy individuals need to consume specific amounts of potassium to maintain their health and wellbeing. According to the US National Institutes of Health, healthy women (age 19-50) should eat 2,600 mg potassium per day, while healthy men (age 19-50) should get 3,400 mg potassium daily. [1]

However, some people need to eat less or more potassium than the average recommendation.

Who should eat high potassium foods?

If you don’t eat enough potassium, or are likely at risk of hypertension, hypokalemia, and kidney stones. The US National Institutes of Health suggest that the following individuals likely have poor potassium status and need to eat more potassium than the general recommendation [1] :

People with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis). This condition causes malabsorption and increased excretion of potassium.

People who use medication like diuretics and laxatives. These may increase potassium excretion.

People with pica (condition of eating non-nutritive substances like clay). This condition may lead to malabsorption and hypokalemia (severe deficiency).

chickpea hummus

How to get more potassium in your diet?

The easiest way to get more potassium is to eat high potassium foods like chickpeas! Here is a list of other high-potassium foods [11] :

  • Apricots
  • Artichoke
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Milk
  • Lentils
  • Beans and peas
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Fish and clams
  • Raisins
  • Tomatoes

How to eat more chickpeas?

As chickpeas are a very versatile food, you can include them in almost all of your favorite dishes. Here are some examples:

  1. Hummus
  2. Use chickpea flour for baked goods instead of, or in combination with regular flour.
  3. Baked chickpeas
  4. Chickpea pasta
  5. Chickpea stew/stir fry

Related: Bamboo Shoots – 5 Health Benefits

Who should eat low potassium foods?

Some people need to stick to a low-potassium diet when their health condition requires it.

The advice from Dr. Neison (Family Medicine Specialist):

If your physician has discussed a low potassium diet with you, make sure to get regular follow-ups to ensure you’re potassium stays within normal ranges.

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