Nutritional constituent and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): A review

Food Res Int. 2021 Dec;150(Pt A):110790. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110790. Epub 2021 Oct 29.


Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), an annual plant of the Fabaceae family, is mainly grown in temperate and semiarid regions. Its biological activity and beneficial contribution to human health have been scientifically confirmed as an essential source of nutritional components. The objective of this review was to summarize and update latest available scientific data and information, on bioactive components in chickpea, bio-activities, and molecular mechanisms, which has mainly focused on the detection of relevant biochemical indicators, the regulation of signaling pathways, essential genes and proteins. The studies have shown that chickpea have significant multifunctional activities, which are closely related to the functionally active small molecule peptides and phytochemicals of chickpea. Significantly, numerous studies have only addressed the functional activity and mechanisms of single active components of chickpea, however, overlooking the synergy and antagonism between chickpea components, changes of functional active components in different processing methods, as well as the active form of the substances after human digestion and metabolism. Additionally, due to limitations in research methods and techniques, the structure of most functional active substances have not been determined, which makes it difficult to conduct interaction mechanism studies. Consequently, the significant bio-activity of the functional components of chickpea, synergistic and antagonistic effects and activity differences between bioactive components should be further studied.

Keywords: Biological activity; Chickpea; Health benefits; Molecular mechanism; Nutritional constituent; Synergism and antagonism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cicer*
  • Fabaceae*
  • Humans
  • Proteins


  • Proteins