Lentils are a staple food that should be included in each person’s diet. Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils are the perfect vegetable to eat in summer in salads, pastas, and as an element in a vegetarian dish.
They are easy to cook, and are an uncomplicated compliment to any meal. Nutty and earthy, lentils have a high nutritional value that anyone can benefit by incorporating this healthy legume into their diet.
Health benefits of lentils
1. Lower Cholesterol
Lentils help lower blood cholesterol as it contains high levels of soluble fiber. Lowering your cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke and helps keep your arteries clean.
2. Heart health
Several studies have shown that eating foods high in fiber like lentils reduces the risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are great contributors to heart health.
Folate lowers homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease.
Magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils will keep your heart happy!
3. Digestive health
The insoluble dietary fiber found in lentil helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
4. Stabilize blood sugar
Adding to the many benefits of fiber, soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially useful for people with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
Of all legumes and nuts, lentil contain the highest levels of protein. 26 percent of the calories from lentil are attributed to proteins, making them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
Lentil increase the energy constant, slow burning due to its fiber and complex carbohydrates. Lentil are also a good source of iron, which carries oxygen through your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.
7. Weight Loss
Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat. A cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.
A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who eat beans had a 22 percent lower risk of obesity and were more likely to have a smaller waistline than people who did not eat beans. Beans are high in soluble fiber, which slows down digestion and makes you feel full for longer. One cup (250 ml) of black beans, for example, provides 60 percent of the daily value (VD) * for the fiber.
8. Lower risk of cancer
In a review of dietary data for 90,630 women aged 26-46, scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who ate beans and lentils at least twice a week had a 25 percent lower risk of cancer than women who ate only once a month.
A recent Australian study found that dietary protein and soluble fiber help prevent hypertension and improve blood pressure control. Researchers suggested legumes as a way to increase both nutrients in their daily diet.
10. Prevent birth defects
Folate is, of course, an obligation for any woman considering having children as it helps prevent defects in the development of neural tubes. One cup of lentils provides a whopping 90 percent of DV of folate.