Life Extension Magazine®

Bowl of raw garbanzo beans that helps a gut microbiome

Super Foods: Garbanzo Beans

Long a staple of the Mediterranean diet, garbanzo beans contain an indigestible resistant starch that helps restore the gut microbiome and provides a feeling of fullness.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Shanti Albani, ND, Physician, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

Widely known as chickpeas, garbanzo beans possess a delicious, mild nutty flavor that has been a mainstay of Mediterranean and Indian cuisine for thousands of years.1

Garbanzo beans are a bountiful source of basic nutrients, including protein, fiber, iron, and various minerals.2

What you need to know

Supporting healthy weight, reducing insulin resistance, improving the digestive system and reducing cancer risk, garbanzo beans make an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Discover why this tiny bean is a new superfood.

Weight Management

In human studies, garbanzo beans support healthy weight control and weight loss, even without caloric restriction.3,4 Part of this effect may be because garbanzo beans encourage the feeling of fullness after a meal, along with beneficial effects on metabolism. In addition, they even help reduce calorie intake in the next meal.

Improving Insulin Resistance & Diabetes

Metabolic syndrome and diabetes are common disorders characterized by insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose.

Garbanzo beans and some of their compounds have been found to reduce insulin resistance and contribute to improved blood sugar control.4,5 Not only is the glycemic index of the beans themselves low, they help to manage blood glucose levels of other sources in the diet.

Digestive System Support & Cancer Prevention

Garbanzo beans contain a significant amount of indigestible resistant starch and oligosaccharides that work in tandem to restore a healthy and balanced gut microbiome.6

Since resistant starch and oligosaccharides in garbanzo beans cannot be digested in the gastrointestinal tract, good gut bacteria feeds on them to produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids such as propionate and butyrate.7 This might explain the results of a study in which mice supplemented with garbanzo bean flour had a 64% reduction in the number of aberrant crypt foci— precursors to colon cancer.8


  1. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2015;55(8):1137-45.
  2. Nutrients. 2016 Nov 29;8(12).
  3. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 May;103(5):1213-23.
  4. J Food Sci Technol. 2017 Mar;54(4):987-94.
  5. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 30;10(4).
  6. Available at: trials_rev_web1.pdf. Accessed November 26, 2018.
  7. Physiol Rev. 2001 Jul;81(3):1031-64.
  8. Anticancer Res. 2004 Sep-Oct;24(5a):3049-55.