By Ricky Elmer
Lentils are a quick and easy meal to prepare for those of you who wish to eat healthier and cook for yourselves. They are able to absorb a wide variety of flavors from all sorts of foods and spices, they have elevated nutritional value and are available to you all year round.
These legumes are packed full of nutrition: calcium, potassium, niacin, vitamin K, zinc… It has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that nutrient-dense food such as these may lower the risk of serious medical issues.
Lentils are considered one of the oldest consumed legumes throughout history. This could be due to the fact that they are easy to prepare and do not require a long soaking time when compared to other beans.
If lentils are not a part of your common diet, we suggest that you incorporate them into regular meals, spread out through a couple weeks. It is possible to experience abdominal discomfort and flatulence when you first start eating lentils, but no more than any other legume (they are a sort of bean, after all). Your body should begin to adapt fairly quickly, it really depends on your current way of eating.
As of late, lentils have become very popular amongst the healthy food advocates, as they are low in calories and have such a high nutritional value. With an earthy and nutty flavor, they can be added to all types of foods – spreads, salads, or even as their own dish.
If you were to look at a chart listing the fiber content of foods, you would see legumes in the lead. Beans (particularly lentils) have a high dietary fiber content, both the insoluble and soluble types. It has been shown by research studies that insoluble fiber can prevent digestive disorders, such as diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome, while soluble fiber creates a gel-like substance located in the digestive tract, which then catches bile and escorts it out of the body.
Just one cup of cooked lentils provides 18g of protein. Legumes have actually been named as a better source of protein when compared to other sources (fish, poultry, and beef) by the Harvard School of Public Health. It is important to know that lentils will not supply the amino acids needed for the body to synthesise protein.
5 Health Benefits Of Lentils:
1. Good Protein – Lentils contain the 3rd highest level of protein, among all other nuts and legumes.
2. Weight Loss – Lentils are low in calories and are almost completely fat-free. They also contain vitamins, fiber, minerals and protein, making them a great addition to weight-loss diets.
3. Heart Health – Lentils are a great source of magnesium and folate, which both contribute to good heart health.
4. Lower Cholesterol – As mentioned before, lentils hold high levels of soluble fiber, meaning they are able to lower the blood’s cholesterol levels.
5. Digestive Health – We also mentioned that lentils are a great source of insoluble fiber as well. This allows them to help prevent constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulosis.
Lentils have been consumed for a very long time and considering the health benefits that they have, our ancestors seemed to realize their significance. All in all, if you haven’t made lentils a staple in your diet, there is no better time than now.
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