Hummus, the chickpea-based dip that’s a staple in many Middle Eastern cuisines, is on the rise in the U.S. Multiple factors are fueling its growing popularity, according to the USDA: Hummus is naturally gluten-free, and Americans now have bigger appetites for healthier snacks. But how healthy is hummus? Here’s what the experts say.
What is hummus made of?
Traditional hummus is made from a blend of chickpeas, olive oil, tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice and spices, and this mix makes for a nutrient-dense food, says Elizabeth G. Matteo, a registered dietitian at Boston University’s Sargent Choice Nutrition Center. “It generally offers more vitamins and minerals than many other dips or spreads,” she says, since it includes calcium, folate and magnesium.
This blend of nutrients can also stabilize blood sugar and help prevent heart disease, says Los Angeles-based registered dietitian Lindsey Pine. Hummus also contains what she calls the “trifecta of macronutrients”—healthy fat, protein and fiber—that keep you full and satisfied, which is key to maintaining a healthy weight.