Lentils are a high-protein, high-fiber member of the legume family. Like a mini version of a bean, lentils grow in pods.Lentils are a highly nutritious food, rich in minerals, protein, and fiber.
There are three main types of lentil . These include:1 Brown lentils: These have a mild, earthy flavor and become mushy when overcooked. These are most appropriate for soups. 2 French green or Puy lentils: These have a peppery taste and are suitable for salads due to their crunchy texture. 3 Red lentils: These are common in Middle-Eastern or Indian cuisine and are actually brown Masoor lentils that have had their hulls removed. They are most effective in purees and recipe thickeners.
Other types include Beluga lentils which resemble caviar and are more expensive and white lentils and black lentils. Macachiados lentils are another option and have a distinctive strong, nutty taste. They are often used in Mexican dishes.
100 grams (g) of cooked lentils contains:
9.02 g of protein
0.3 g of fat
20.13 g of carbohydrates,
including 7.9 g of fiber and 1.8 g of sugar
Benefits of lentils:-
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like lentils decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and strong hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.
The fiber, folic acid and potassium in lentils keep the heart healthy and support heart health.
Lentils help to :
1. Lower Cholesterol:-
Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber. Lowering the cholesterol levels reduces risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping the arteries clean.2. Heart Health:-
Several studies have shown that eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces the risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease. Magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils keep your heart happy!
3. Digestive Health:-
Insoluble dietary fiber found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
4. Stabilized Blood Sugar:-
Adding to the many benefits of fiber, soluble fiber traps carbohydrates slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially helpful for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.5. Weight Loss:-
Although lentils include beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins they are low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leave you feeling full and satisfied.
6. Prevent Cancer :-
Studies conducted by Elvira González De Mejía & Valentin I. Prisecaru at the University of Illinois have found that plant lectins, a separate type of plant protein originating from foods like lentils, wheat, peanuts, peas, and soybeans have a great influence on cancer cells. Research studies have shown that these lectins cause cytotoxicity and apoptosis, which means that they have a great potential to control cancer growth.
7. Healthy Nervous System:-
It was long believed that micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals did not have an effect on the functioning of the brain. However, further research suggested that for the proper functioning of the brain, vitamins and minerals are equally important. According to the research conducted by J.M. Bourre at the Department of Neuro-pharmaco-nutrition at Fernand Widal Hospital in Paris, vitamins and minerals found in lentils are helpful for optimum brain functioning.