Hummus instead of Prozac

A recent research conducted by Israeli scientists, has interesting findings concerning the popularity of Hummus. It’s all about mood they say – chickpeas are the ancestors of Prozac.

It is a known fact that Chickpeas, as well as other legumes, contain a large dosage of Tryptophan, an amino acid which is an important building block of serotonin. The latter, is a neurotransmitter, the lack of which modern biochemistry and psychiatry agree is strongly connected with “mood disorders” such as anxiety and minor depression.

Nowdays, the lack of serotonin is treated with SSRI (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Medicines such as Prozac, Seroxat, Cipralex etc.) which increases the amount of serotonin in the brain. A Tryptophan rich diet has a similar effect.

The Cicer Arietinum (a.k.a chickpea) is the richest in Tryptophan specie throughout it’s genus of plants.

What the researchers (Professor Avi Gopher, Dr. Zohar Kerem, Professor Simcha Lev-Yadun, Dr. Shachar Abbo.) say, is that the chickpea was probably cultivated due to its’ rich Tryptophan content. Ancient men were better skilled than us in recognizing healthy foods and getting their nutritional needs from foods – very much like we can see in animals.

Thousands of years better, hummus is a common dish in a growing number of countries because it tastes good – but also for it’s nutritional value. Ironically, in both cases, people tend to say eating hummus makes them “feel good”…


20 Responses to “Hummus instead of Prozac”

  1. Spike on March 14th, 2007 12:32 pm

    Sence I began to increase my tryptophan intake from all soarce’s,I have almost completely stopped taken my anti depressant.Im still not jolly ollie and life is not a bowl of cherries but Im happier then I have been in years and getting better all the time.I’m really optomistic about the future

  2. Hummus SSRI-effect and the Tryptophan reach diet at The Hummus Blog on March 25th, 2007 10:53 am

    […] In a recent post I addressed the fascinating issue of hummus’s anti-depression and anti-anxiety potential. To be exact, hummus has some nutrients that may affect mood in certain dosages. This is somewhat similar to how an SSRI drug (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like Prozac, Seroxat or Cipralex works. […]

  3. Benny on April 2nd, 2007 6:06 am

    Hey Spike, other readers,

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, but when dealing with changes in medications, always consult a physician before acting.

    I would encourage anyone to seek alternatives to drug therapy, but always under a physician’s guidance.

    All the best, enjoy your hummus (and bananas and quinoa and raisins and peaches and dates)

  4. Rachel on December 29th, 2008 7:26 am

    But what about turkey and chicken? They also contain triptophan, if I’m not mistaken. Granted, this is a hummus blog, but shouldn’t you try to highlight where we might eat it most? (Meaning: the average American is more likely to eat chicken/turkey than hummus and so would relate this more keenly to their lives…?)

    Let me just say that it’s way past my bedtime, I stumbled here, scanned your entry, and hurriedly typed a response. I apologize if I don’t make much sense.

  5. World’s Strangest | Dietribes: Hummus Among Us on January 13th, 2010 8:05 pm

    […] might be the answer. A recent study has shown chickpeas to have a connection to Prozac and other antidepressants, given its high levels of Tryptophan (yes, also found in your Thanksgiving turkey), which helps […]

  6. tb on February 20th, 2010 5:54 pm

    with a big plate of hummus in front of you, how could one not be happy!

  7. Prabhu on June 7th, 2010 1:49 pm

    all is joy…..

  8. Andrea de Michaelis on July 8th, 2010 7:59 am

    I’m glad I found your blog. I love hummus and really appreciate the info you’ve put together at this site. I’ve just done a blog post at and included links to your Nutrition Facts and also to your Hummus Instead of Prozac.

    Thanks again for the good work you do!

  9. Hummus, Babaganoush and much needed downtime on July 10th, 2010 11:37 am

    […] Hummus Blog Hummus Nutrition Facts Hummus instead of Prozac Tags: babaganouj, babaganoush, […]

  10. Jacque Conci on July 20th, 2010 9:43 am

    The trouble with hummus is – I eat too much! I get started on it. Add a little extra olive oil on top and some kalamata olives and I’m set for the day. I usedto suffer from depression – ended up in hospital 12 years ago twice – I went almost completely vegetarian – fish and chicken occasionally – so had to start eating beans, especially garbanzos in my daily salads and hummus to get my protein – I’m a five times a week tennis player (Age 65). I wonder if my new diet of mostly beans and seeds for protein has helped my depression which is none-existent now, despite the doctors telling me “I had it for life”! Little they knew!

  11. Jacque Conci on July 20th, 2010 9:47 am

    I recently saw on T.V.’s The Dr. Oz show that out of Garbanzos, Kidney Beans and White Navy beans, that the white navy were the most healthly. I find that hard to believe. I guess it’s what you need in your diet as to whether what is the most healthy for you. Jax

    Probably could make hummus out of White Navies, too, but why mess with the it if it’s not broken>?

  12. Robert on October 31st, 2010 8:21 pm

    To Rachel:

    The different amino-acids compete with each other to go through the blood-brain barrier.

    The proportion of the different amino-acids in vegetable protein is different than in animal protein. These differences may affect the amount of Tryptophan that actually enters the brain and is transformed to serotonin.

    There are also other factors to bear in mind, like the availability of vitamins that help the enzimes to make the conversion.

  13. Hummus, Babaganoush and much needed downtime | on September 23rd, 2011 12:55 am

    […] Hummus Blog Hummus Nutrition Facts Hummus instead of Prozac This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Vegetarian low fat fake […]

  14. Amin on January 6th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Bowl of hummus, bunch of warm pita bread and wast of black tea. There is nothing more you can wish.

  15. Health Benefits Of Hummus And How To Make At Home [VIDEO] - 99.9 KTDY on January 31st, 2012 10:06 pm

    […] is full of ‘good’ fats, protein and may even help with depression.  Most people have it in restaurants or buy it in there local grocery store, but making your own […]

  16. Israel in 20 meals – part 5 | esthercooks on April 23rd, 2013 5:42 pm

    […] really good reason to go to Israel. Did you know by the way that chickpeas make you happy? (look here). And hence so does humus? It actually does. It also makes you satisfied for a long time (I only […]

  17. Ohmagine on October 9th, 2013 2:09 pm

    Right on. Thanks for bringing this into the conversation. This is why bananas and turkey are not as effective.

    You will like this article.

  18. Los beneficios desconocidos del hummus: un antidepresivo que previene el cáncer | Noticiasapunto on March 18th, 2014 9:39 pm

    […] hummus produce serotonina, la hormona de la felicidad, lo mismo que en los antidepresivos. Según una investigación llevada a cabo por científicos israelíes la causa del estado de bienestar que causaba un plato de hummus regado con aceite de oliva y […]

  19. INFORMACIÓN SOBRE LOS ALIMENTOS: EL HUMMUS | Los fogones de la hierbas on April 11th, 2014 10:15 pm

    […] último, comer hummus produce serotonina, la hormona de la felicidad. Según una investigación llevada a cabo por científicos israelíes, la causa del estado de bienestar, que causaba un plato de hummus regado con aceite de oliva y […]

  20. Claudia on August 1st, 2014 2:21 pm

    It’s great that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from our argument made at
    this place.

Got something to say?