Red Pepper Chickpea Salad

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As two major sources of folate, combining red peppers and chickpeas creates a tag-team effect that helps boost energy levels. Chickpeas are one of the richest whole-food sources of folate, but a one-cup serving still falls short of meeting your daily needs. Red peppers pick up where the chickpeas leave off to help supply nearly a day’s worth of folate. Folate facilitates red blood cell production, essential for carrying oxygen to working muscles.

Chickpeas also supply iron, another nutrient needed for oxygen flow, but the iron from chickpeas is best absorbed with the help of vitamin C. Thankfully, a medium-sized red pepper offers 377 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin C. Talk about team work. To top it off, research has shown that a combination of red peppers plus chickpeas (and all beans for that matter) can help improve blood sugar levels, decrease fat storage and, what’s most rewarding, increase glycogen storage for more immediate energy during your workouts.

Got gas?

Beans are notorious for causing flatulence. For some people, lentils can do the same. Try these following tips to prevent the toot.

  • Always sort and rinse them before cooking. Sort legumes by spreading them over a white cutting board; sift through each bean and discard those that are discolored or excessively dirty.
  • Soak them overnight, or for at least 8 hours. This also helps to decrease the cooking time.
  • Don’t cook them in the water you used to soak them. Using fresh cooking water and cooking them decreases the gas-producing sugars.
  • Canned beans tend to cause less gas. Choose the low-salt or no-salt-added varieties, and look for BPA-free cans.
  • Take a digestive aid, like Beano, to help you digest gassy sugars.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day.

Serves 4 • Ready in 2 hours and 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas
  • 3 red bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Dash sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Rinse chickpeas thoroughly to remove excess sodium.
  2. Toss together all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge to allow flavors to meld.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 264, Total Fats: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 12 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 40 g, Dietary Fiber: 11 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 13 g, Iron: 4 mg

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