I have just completed a 3-week online course through Monash University called "Food as Medicine". It was quite inspiring and reassured me that a balanced diet with lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, nuts, milk and milk products, grains and legumes is all that is needed to stay and become healthy. All these foods should be prepared fresh and processed foods, refined sugar and refined grains should be avoided. So called "super foods" are a clever marketing strategy and many super foods have been defined over the years. Eaten fresh, if possible from the garden, make most foods "Super Foods".
The dividing line between foods and medicines may not always be clear. There are a lot of foods that have medicinal value but also provide sustenance. Herbal medicine comes into its own when we remove the distinction between foods and medicines.
In the course chickpeas was one of the legumes that was pointed out as very beneficial for your health. They are high in dietary fiber and a healthy source of carbohydrates. They are low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium. The fiber in chickpeas helps to decrease blood cholesterol levels by binding bile acids in the small intestine and preventing re-absorption to the liver. Chickpeas provide a rich source of zinc, folate, manganese, magnesium, iron and twice as much protein as cereal grains.
We generally use organic dried chickpeas in order to prepare them properly and making their nutrients available (see below). When buying canned chickpeas make sure to read the list of ingredients in order to avoid preservatives, colouring or other additives (there should really just be chickpeas, water and sea salt)
"Traditional societies whose cuisines are based on legumes prepare them with great care. Soaking, rinsing and the cooking process make legumes thoroughly digestible and all the nutrients they provide well assimilated. Such careful preparation neutralises phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors and breaks down difficult-to-digest complex sugars." (Nourishing Traditions)