Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition. Lentils are not only one of the oldest commonly consumed legumes in history, but they are also one of the simplest to prepare since they don’t require a lengthy soaking time like other beans. Packed with nutrients, legumes are nature’s almost-perfect food. Here are the top reasons to eat more of them:
Cooked lentils provide 18 grams of protein per cup, with less than 1 gram of fat, negligible saturated fat and no cholesterol. When compared to beef, poultry and fish, all of which are good sources of protein- contain much higher amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol! Substituting lean protein sources like lentils for red meat could lower your overall risk of dying from most diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Lentils do not contain all of the amino acids required by the body for protein synthesis. Combine them with a grain like rice or whole-wheat bread for a meal providing complete protein.
GOOD FOR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Lentils are rich in dietary fibre, both the soluble and the insoluble type. They are undigested, which means they will pass out of our bodies. Insoluble fibre encourages regular bowel movement and prevents constipation and helps prevent colon cancer. While soluble fibre reduces the risk of heart disease and regulates blood sugar for people with diabetes.
A cup of lentils provides 87 percent of the iron men need daily and 38 percent of the amount a woman needs. The body uses iron to produce red blood cells and adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. People who are deficient in iron may develop anaemia or neurological problems like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The iron in plant-based foods like lentils is nonheme iron, a form of iron that is not absorbed as easily as the heme iron in meat, poultry and fish. You can increase the amount of iron you get from lentils by eating the legumes with meat or with a rich source of vitamin C.
PROTECT YOUR HEART
Lentils contribute to heart health in their soluble fibre and in the significant amount of foliate and magnesium. One cup of cooked lentils provides 90% of the recommended daily allowance for folic acid, which protects the artery walls and prevents heart disease. Magnesium lowers resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. And studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is associated with heart attack.
MINERALS AND ANTI OXIDANTS
Lentils are a good source of important minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc. Iron deficiency causes anaemia while zinc is one of several nutrients necessary for fending off infections. Lentils also provide antioxidants such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which bind with and destroy free radicals, reducing oxidative damage to cells. Lentils also have a high content of tannins, phytochemicals that prevent cancer growth, making them a good addition to any diet.
Selenium is a mineral found in lentils that is not present in most other foods. Selenium prevents inflammation, decreases tumour growth rates and improves immune response to infection by stimulating production of killer T-cells. It also plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. The fibre in lentils is also associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
- Precook lentils and keep in your refrigerator for a quick protein source.
- Make a lentil dip by smashing cooked lentils with a fork and adding garlic, onion, chilli powder, and chopped tomatoes
- Use lentils in place of beans in any recipe.
- Add lentils to any soup or stew recipe to add extra nutrients and fibre.