Is hummus healthy?

Consumer Reports takes a closer look at hummus' nutritional content

Over the past several years, hummus has been making its way into people’s shopping carts more and more.

While the dip isn’t as popular as salsa, hummus continues to grow on Americans. But is it healthy?

The traditional recipe of chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon juice, spices and olive oil makes for a simple, fast dip.

“If there was a nutrition contest for dips, hummus would win the top prize in the best all-around category,” said Patricia Calderone, Consumer Reports’ health editor.

A tablespoon serving of hummus packs a nutritional punch. It includes heart healthy fat, two to three grams of protein and about three grams of fiber.

Most of hummus’ benefits come from the chickpeas, which are full of nutrients such as vitamin B, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Chickpeas are also part of a class of legumes called pulses, which have been shown to offer several health benefits.

“The research suggests that people who eat a lot of pulses do tend to weigh less. They tend to have lower blood pressure, lower levels of bad cholesterol and even a reduced risk of certain diseases like type two diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer,” Calderone said.

Two tablespoons of hummus can have 50 to 70 calories depending on the brand.

Consumers may want to pay close attention to the sodium content in the hummus they buy. Nutritionists suggest looking for brands that have 140 milligrams of sodium or less per serving.

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