Hummus is increasing in popularity as a choice for people who are interested in maintaining good health. Unlike other similar products, hummus is low in salt and saturated fat, making it especially good for you if you're concerned about the development of cardiovascular disease.
While you may have heard the term "hummus" before, you might not know exactly what it is. Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern dipping sauce that contains pinto or garbanzo beans, olive oil and spices. These ingredients are combined thoroughly to form hummus. Hummus is not only delicious, but also extremely healthy. This is in part due to the fact that pinto and garbanzo beans contain high amounts of fiber, which helps in weight loss and may actually treat and prevent some types of cancer. In addition, the olive oil found in hummus is unsaturated, meaning that it can help lower the occurrence of heart disease and stroke. Here are several easy ways to enjoy hummus:
1. As a Dipping Sauce for Chips
One of the most popular ways that hummus is traditionally served is as a dipping sauce for pita chips. Typically, when people are craving a salty snack such as chips, they will go to the old standby of potato chips with dip. This combination can be extremely bad for your health. Potato chip dips are typically loaded with high amounts of sodium, which not only leads to water retention, leaving you feeling fat and bloated, but can also contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. Swapping this choice out with hummus and pita chips will give you the same savory taste with a much lower sodium intake.
2. As a Spread for Bread
Another great way that hummus can be used is as a replacement for butter. Butter is loaded with salt and contains high amounts of saturated fat, which research has found to be linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke and even some types of cancer. In contrast, hummus can actually work in the treatment and prevention of some of these conditions.
3. As a Sauce for Meat
Though this is a more nontraditional use for hummus, it can also be used as a sauce for meat, especially if you are planning a special Mediterranean-themed dinner. Try adding a small amount of extra virgin olive oil to the hummus, and mixing until thoroughly combined. Ideally, the sauce should be the texture of yogurt. Spoon the hummus over raw chicken or fish, and bake at a low temperature until cooked. Use a baster to continue soaking the meat with hummus as it cooks. Be sure to serve a small amount of hummus on the side during dinner.
4. As a Dip for Vegetables
Try using hummus as a dip for vegetables instead of more traditional cream-based dips. Hummus has a relatively neutral flavor, and because of this can be used with almost any vegetable. For best results, use fresh vegetables that have not been flavored with any additional seasonings.