Lentils and fiber go hand in hand. These legumes are a low calorie plant protein which is a staple in many cultures. Lentils are low in fat and rich in key nutrients like folate, iron, manganese, and potassium. Lentils have nutrients called lignans and saponins, which have been shown to help reduce the risk for development of certain cancers and may help promote survivorship.
Some people call lentils, legumes, or pulses. Legumes are a family of plants that produce a pod with a seed inside it. The term legume is used to describe the seed of the plant. When used as a dry grain, this seed is also known as pulse. Legumes include beans, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, lentils.
Are lentils a carb? Lentils are gluten-free, high in protein and fiber with complex carbs which makes them low in glycemic index. They are helpful to consume if you’re looking to balance blood sugar levels and boost energy. Lentils come in a variety of colors including red, green, yellow, brown, and black.
Following are the five major benefits of eating lentils on regular basis:
Reduced risk of chronic illnesses like cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease: Lentils are rich in plant protective compounds known as phenol. Lentils are top-ranked among the legumes in phenolic content which is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and are cardioprotective.
Digestive system support: Lentils promote healthy digestive function because they have a probiotic effect. The fiber in lentils fuels the healthy gut bacteria and reduces the risk of colorectal cancer
Heart function support: Fiber, folate, and potassium content of lentils make them a great choice for a heart-healthy diet. The lentils have soluble fiber that helps in controlling cholesterol and managing blood pressure.
Blood sugar support: As mentioned earlier they are low in glycemic index, therefore, helping manage blood sugar. In addition, the fiber content of lentils provides satiety for longer thus helping control the appetite.
Source of protein: One-third of calories provided by lentils come from proteins which makes them a healthy alternative to meat and fish. However, one must consume lentils with grains to ensure the diet has all of the essential amino acids.
The best way to eat lentils
Legumes have compounds that can block the way our body absorbs certain nutrients eaten at the same time. Examples are lectins, phytates, tannins, and saponins. These can block the absorption of important nutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, and proteins in your meal.
It is suggested to soak the legumes before cooking them, which helps reduce these compounds. It also helps make lentils faster to cook, easier to digest and less gassy. Soaking the legumes for 2-8 hours is suggested. It also reduces the cooking time in half. You can create crockpot lentils and rice for an easy, healthy meal during a busy week. Soaked brown or yellow lentils can be cooked with rice in the rice cooker.
Looking for help creating a customized nutrition and wellness plan? Book your free discovery call with Stacy.