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”…