Consumer Reports: Is hummus healthy for you?

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Consumer Reports: Healthy benefits of eating hummus - Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5pm on July 25, 2018. (WPVI)

Salsa may be America's favorite dip, but hummus is gaining ground as a go-to snack food.

However, many people aren't sure if it's really healthy or not, so the nutrition team at Consumer Reports checked it out.

The popularity of hummus is "spreading." The traditional recipe of chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon juice, spices and olive oil, delivers a simple dip in seconds.

It's fast, and yes, it's healthy too.

"If there was a nutrition contest for dips, hummus would win the top prize in the 'best all around' category," said Julia Calderone, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

Each two-tablespoon serving of hummus packs quite a nutritional punch, including heart-healthy fat, two to three grams of protein and about three grams of fiber.

Most of hummus' health benefits come from the chickpeas. They are chock full of key nutrients, such as B vitamins, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

And they're part of a class of legumes called pulses, which have been shown to offer several health benefits.

"The research suggests that people who eat a lot of pulses do tend to weigh less. They tend to have lower blood pressure, lower levels of bad cholesterol and even a reduced risk of certain diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer," said Calderone

But be aware, that same two tablespoon serving of hummus can have 50, 60 even 70 calories depending on the brand, so be mindful how much you're scooping.

And when you're buying hummus in the store, Consumer Reports says you should keep tabs on the sodium content. Some brands add more than others, so read the label and look for a brand that has 140 milligrams per serving or less.

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