Legumes in Sacks

High in disease-fighting nutrients and low in calories, lentils (along with peas and beans) are a healthy legume with an earthy and nutty flavor and perfect to incorporate into a well-balanced diet.

Other nutritional and health benefits of lentils include:

  • Calcium
  • Dietary fiber
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Lean protein
  • Niacin
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

Lentils health benefits

1 – Alkaline

Lentils have the benefit of being rich in alkaline protein sources which help the body fight-off health problems and avoid diseases. Eating lentils regularly is an effective solution to maintain a healthy pH balance.

2 – Atherosclerosis

Eating lentils or similar legumes can supply a reliable source of antioxidants that lowers the risk of developing atherosclerosis (clogged arteries). Plus, these antioxidants hold a further benefit of being able to fight-off free radicals and slow the onset of aging and cell damage.

3 – Birth defects

Lentils are rich in B-complex vitamins and contain folic acid, which is essential to lower the risk of birth defects such as neural tube defects (NTDs).

4 – Blood sugar

Soluble fiber content helps to stabilize blood sugar, slow down digestion, and trap carbohydrates. Its ability to stabilize blood sugar is certain to benefit those with hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, or diabetes.

5 – Cancer

Lentils include anti-cancer properties such as plant proteins like lectins. Lectin is believed to cause apoptosis and cytotoxicity which helps to slow and disrupt the growth of cancer causing cells in the body. Good diet foods like lentils and beans have the potential to lower the risk of certain cancers by nearly 25%.

Other sources of plant lectins include:

  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Soybeans
  • Wheat

6 – Cholesterol

Lentils are linked to lowering blood cholesterol because of the high concentration of soluble fiber. Plus, eating lentils can help to slow the liver’s production of cholesterol. The ability to control LDL cholesterol (bad) is certain to cleanup the arteries and lessen the risk of stroke and heart disease.

7 – Diabetes

The rich concentration of soluble fiber in these edible pulses can help trap carbohydrates. Health benefits of lentils in this area include slowing the process of absorption and digestion, which is helpful to maintain the more consistent blood sugar levels.

8 – Dietary fiber

A 1 cup serving of lentils has about 62.8% of the DV of dietary fiber: both insoluble and soluble which benefits the all-round well-being.

9 – Digestion

Lentils are rich in insoluble dietary fiber which helps with digestive disorders like constipation, diverticular disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Plus, this helps to lower the body’s exposure to toxic waste.

10 – Electrolytic activity

The high potassium content in lentils can help to promote the more efficient electrolytic activity, while also helping the major organs like the kidneys, brain, and heart function.

11 – Energy

Lentils are a slow-burning, steady source of energy because of the complex carbohydrate and fiber content. Plus, this type of legume is a reliable source of iron (about 36.9% of the daily requirement) to help promote the metabolism, energy production, and help muscles use and store oxygen — more oxygen means more energy to use.

12 – Enzymes

Lentils are rich in the trace mineral copper, which is beneficial for its ability to make connective tissues and skin pigment. A 1 cup serving of legumes has about 32% of the DV of copper.

13 – Fiber

A ½ cup of lentils has about 8 grams of fiber, which can help to reach the daily recommended amount of 25-30 grams. Fiber-rich ingredients are a solid base to create healthy meals to lose weight because of its ability to suppress appetite. Eating the proper fiber intake can help to decrease the daily calories consumed by about 10%

14 – Folic acid

Eating legumes like lentils can provide a great source of B-complex vitamins like folic acid or folate. Folic acid is essential before and during a pregnancy to prevent birth defects like neural tube defects. Plus, these healthful nutrients can help to fight-off DNA damage (leads to cancer) and hypertension.

15 – Heart

A well-balanced diet that incorporates fiber-rich food like lentils has the potential to lower the risk of suffering heart disease. Plus, the magnesium (improves the flow of nutrients, oxygen, and blood through the system by preventing calcium build-up) and folate (cuts the level of homocysteine) content is also helpful to promote the heart health. A deficiency in magnesium can increase the risk of heart disease.

16 – High blood pressure

Eating a diet rich in soluble fiber and dietary protein is one more of the health benefits of lentils with the ability to control high blood pressure. Lentils or similar legumes are a simple solution to get these nutrients into a well-balanced diet.

17 – Iron

Eat iron-rich legumes with a reliable source of vitamin C (Brussels sprouts, grapefruit juice, kiwifruit, oranges, strawberries, etc.) can make the body more efficient at absorbing iron. A 1 cup serving of lentils has about 36% of the daily value of this mineral.

18 – Low-fat

Lentils are very low-fat so a perfect addition to include in low fat diets.

Certain animal products like fish, eggs, chicken, dairy, and beef are able to provide a high concentration of protein, but they also have a richer concentration of fat.

19 – Metabolism

The rich vitamin B3 content in lentils benefits the body because of its ability to improve the chemical reactions of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Plus, this vitamin promotes healthy skin and proper circulation.

Other benefits of vitamin B3 include controlling:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cataracts
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis

20 – Muscle generation

Growth and repair of the body’s organs and muscles are related to a regular supply of protein. Eating lentils can supply this source of protein and amino acids to ensure the proper body function is achieved.

21 – Nervous system

A well-balanced diet rich in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals can have a positive impact on the function of the brain. Lentils are high in a variety of essential nutrients which lead to optimal brain function.

22 – Oxygen

A rich dietary source of iron is certain to help the body deliver and carry more oxygen through the system.

Other sources of iron include:

  • Cashew nuts
  • Cereal
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables
  • Giblets
  • Mollusks
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • White beans

23 – Protein

Lentils are rated 3rd on the healthy food list (plant-based) in relation to the amount of protein. About 24.8% of the calories in lentils are protein related, so a good protein source for the vegans and vegetarians.  A 1 cup serving of lentils has 18.2 grams of protein.

Other healthy foods rich in plant-based proteins:

  • Beans
  • Chia seeds
  • Garbanzos
  • Hemp seeds
  • Nuts
  • Quinoa
  • Soy products
  • Spirulina

24 – Sodium

Lentils are a heart-friendly dietary option because they are virtually free of sodium, thus a great choice to help lower the risk of high blood pressure.

25 – Weight Loss

A 1 cup serving of lentils (cooked) has about 228 calories and plenty of other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber (about 60% of the DV). Plus, healthy breakfast foods like lentils are virtually fat-free and low in calories. Also, the carbs and fiber content helps to keep the stomach full for longer, so people eat less.

 

Red Lentil Dahl (Video)

 

Further reading:

  1. Lentil tabbouleh
  2. Refried lentils with eggs & salsa
  3. Celeriac and lentils with hazelnuts and mint
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Darren Lintern is an outdoorsy sports enthusiast and a health nut who aims to help others reach their goal of reconnecting with their body to enjoy a fit and healthy lifestyle. I have gained invaluable knowledge on nutrition, natural medicine, diet and fitness, and intend to make Kerrash.com a trusted source for a variety of health and well-being information.

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