Lentils: Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits
What Are Lentils?
Lentils are a type of legume or “pulses”. They are composed of a number of nutrients, and they can be used as a healthy, cheap food staple for everybody – not just vegetarians. Lentils can be many different colors – red, green, brown, or even golden or black. They resemble split peas; however, they do not taste as sweet.
Their taste does not change according to color. However, green lentils possess greater amounts of fiber than the others, which makes them slightly healthier.
Lentils are believed to have originated in the Middle East and to have been among the first crops to be cultivated there. They are beneficial to our health, for numerous reasons.
Nutritional Facts And Health Benefits Of Lentils
A Source Of Fiber
Since lentils contain significant amounts of dietary fiber, they help to keep bowels healthy. This is because the fiber helps to regulate bowel movements and can prevent or put an end to constipation. Furthermore, lentils contain large amounts of soluble fiber, which can reduce cholesterol levels. This keeps your arteries clean, this reducing your risk of incurring heart disease or getting a stroke.
A Low Glycemic Index
Due to their low glycemic index, lentils are processed quite slowly. Consequently, they make you feel fuller for longer than other foods do. This, in turn, stabilizes blood sugar levels, which helps to prevent and handle diabetes. Since lentils cause you to feel full for a long time, they also cause you to eat less, which helps to lose weight.
A Source Of Protein
Lentils are high in protein content – in fact, they are composed of approximately 26% protein. Therefore, they make for an excellent meat substitute. In fact, they are a healthier source of protein than either meat or fish, because they contain considerably lower amounts of saturated fat than meat or fish do, and they contain zero cholesterol. Therefore, lentils constitute a very healthy protein choice.
A Source Of B-Vitamins
Lentils contain high amounts of B-group vitamins, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. It is extremely important to consume the right amount of B-vitamins, because they play an essential role in human health and well-being. The human body uses B-vitamins to produce energy and to make the nervous system function correctly. It also uses B-vitamins to reinforce memory and strengthen concentration skills, to grow and develop hair, nails and skin and to contribute to a healthy pregnancy by preventing structural and functional anomalies in babies.
Furthermore, B-vitamins prevent anemia and cardiovascular illnesses. They are also used in the process of DNA synthesis, prevent cancer, promote mental health, help to regulate premenstrual syndrome, stabilize morning sickness and prevent stones from forming in the kidneys.
Low In Saturated Fat, High In Folate
As if these benefits weren’t enough, lentils contain very little saturated fat, and high amounts of folate. Folate contributes to tissue growth and cell functioning. Therefore, it is important that women of child-bearing age incorporate it into their diets, as it helps to forestall certain birth defects from occurring in children.
Moreover, folate prevents people from developing gray hair, ulcers, poor growth and glossitis (swelling of the tongue). Folate also lowers your risk of heart disease by reducing your homocysteine levels (homocysteine contributes significantly to heart disease). Moreover, folate averts people from becoming depressed.
Lentils are versatile and can be used in soups, stews, salads and side dishes. They can also be made into fritters and made into sandwiches or stuffed into whole grain pitas. They are great to add to slow cookers with turkey legs, beef or chicken and vegetables.
They are colorful and so make fun and interesting, but, yet make a healthy food to put on a kid’s plate.
Also, since they are a good source of protein they are ideal for vegetarians as a main dish and also a great low fat substitute for meat for anyone.
Everything In Moderation
It is important never to eat too much of a specific food. Despite being extremely healthy for so very many reasons, lentils can also cause serious repercussions if eaten in excessive amounts. These include the formation of gall stones and flatulence.