Lentils have been a staple food since Bible times…Jacob traded lentil soup to Esau for his birthright…lentils were also an ingredient in the sprouted grain bread that the Jewish people made during Babylonian captivity.
Today lentils are still a dietary staple throughout regions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In fact, about 25% of the worldwide production of lentils today is both grown and consumed in India.
Four of the most common types of lentils are…
- Black lentils, also known as beluga lentils for their resemblance to caviar when cooked.
- Brown lentils, also known as Spanish pardina lentils, are the least expensive and are best used in soups in stews.
- Green lentils have a nuttier flavor. They stay firm when cooked and make great salad or taco toppers.
- Red lentils have a milder taste and cook the fastest. They are typically used in Indian dals and purees.
Lentils are low in calories but high in protein and fiber, which helps make you feel full so you’re less likely to snack throughout the day or overeat.
1. One cup of cooked lentils provides 16 grams of fiber…63% of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for an adult man or woman on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Lentils are one of the most filling “stick-to-your-ribs” foods out there. Lentils contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, which means they make you full by expanding in the stomach and absorbing water.
- helps improve heart, digestive and immune function
- helps prevent constipation, IBS, inflammatory bowel diseases, diverticulitis and even diarrhea
- promotes digestive system health
- may help prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, hypertension
- helps to increase satiety and reduce appetite
- makes you feel fuller for longer
- helps control food cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates
- help balance blood sugar levels
- lowers risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and various digestive disorders
- fights blood sugar fluctuations that can lead to diabetes or low energy levels
- helps reduce blood cholesterol levels
- prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal
- can help prevent energy dips, mood changes, and serious conditions like diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia
2. One cup of cooked lentils provides 18 grams of protein…the equivalent to eating about three whole eggs.
Legumes such as lentils are a better protein choice than beef, poultry and fish because legumes contain much lower amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Lentils have the third-highest level of protein by weight of any legume or nut, coming just after soybeans and hemp seeds.
Lentils are one of the most alkaline protein sources there is, which is important for balancing the body’s pH level and promoting a healthy gut environment. Eating processed foods high in sugar or fried foods creates an imbalance in bacteria develops that can lead to numerous health problems. Lentils help combat the acidic environment of the gut and promote healthy bacterial growth, which is important for nutrient absorption and naturally preventing IBS, indigestion, constipation and many other diseases, too.
3. One cup of cooked lentils contains 358 milligrams folate…90% DV.
Folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B-9…
- supports nervous system health
- aids in energy metabolism
- is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and red blood cells
- reduces risk of cancer, depression, heart disease and age-related vision or hearing loss
4. One cup of cooked lentils contains 1mg manganese…49% DV.
- lessens the risk of an unborn child being born with a birth defect
- protects artery walls
- helps support red blood cell formation and proper nerve functions
- may help prevent anemia and protect against developing heart disease, cancer, and dementia
5. One cup of cooked lentils contains 6.6mg of iron…38% DV.
Dried beans and dark green leafy vegetables are especially good sources of iron, even better on a per calorie basis than meat. …
6. One cup of cooked lentils contains 71 mg magnesium…18% DV.
Magnesium improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body by allowing veins and arteries to relax.
7. One cup of cooked lentils contains 8% DV of selenium.
Selenium is a mineral found in lentils that is not present in most other foods, that
- prevents inflammation
- decreases tumor growth rates
- improves immune response to infection by stimulating production of killer T-cells
- plays a role in liver enzyme function
- helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body
8. One cup of cooked lentils contains 731mg potassium…21% DV… more potassium than a large banana.