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Egypt's Happy, Healthy Super Food

Aug 08, 2018

By Dean George

Riddle: What specialty food has Middle Eastern origins, is packed full of vitamins and minerals, and is one of the 30 most commonly mispronounced foods known today?

If you guessed Gyro (Greek origins, pronounced Yee-roh) or Edamame (East Asia origins, pronounced Ed-ah-mah-may), thanks for playing. Take a tub of Hummus (pronounced Hoom-uhs) as a consolation prize.

Hummus is made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Used as a dip or spread, its popularity has skyrocketed the past dozen years and American farmers have reportedly quadrupled their production of chickpeas since 2009 to meet the growing demand in American households.

So why the explosion of interest in a food dating back to the 13th century in Egypt? Two words: delicious and nutritious.

Even better, hummus is a plant food and is good for your teeth! Chickpeas are rich in vital vitamins and nutrients which are essential for good oral health, including: iron, folate, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

The olive oil used in hummus is chockful of powerful antioxidants that possess anti-inflammatory benefits. As previously reported in this space, antioxidants can help improve dental health, prevent tooth decay, and offer preventive protection against oral cancer.        

Garlic and olive oil help give hummus it’s flavor, and both are core ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet.

The sesame seeds in tahini also possess anti-inflammatory benefits which can help prevent oral infections and periodontal disease.

Regardless how schoolchildren pronounce hummus, it makes an excellent part of school lunches because kids can dip crunchy, oral healthy vegetables in it like carrots, celery, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Crunchy vegetables help dilute natural sugars and increase saliva flow to help wash away food particles – while you eat! Also, hummus is naturally free of food allergens like gluten, nuts and dairy products and that makes school personnel very happy.

Hummus is also popular as a sandwich spread and has far fewer calories than mayonnaise or creamy salad dressings.

NOTE: When eating hummus, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. A cup contains 408 calories, so watch your serving size.

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Copyright 2018, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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