Lentils are an amazingly health food that surprisingly, many people don’t take advantage of. However, their relative affordability and availability should out them higher on your list of food choices, as they can be incorporated in a variety of recipes for your desire. They grow in pods, similar to beans, but are comparatively easier to prepare.
But their versatility in cooking is far from the only reason you should be using more lentils, as they are underrated nutritional powerhouses that can simplify your daily requirements. Let’s have a look at what nutrition lentils can offer.
Nutrition Facts of Lentils
Total carbohydrates- 23-25g
Molybdenum-330% of RDA
Pantothenic acid-25% RDA
Vitamin B6-21% RDA
Small amounts of selenium
As you can see, lentils are a true nutritional powerhouse, having massive amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, not to mention fiber and protein. But that’s not all. Now it’s time to see the effects lentil consumption can have on your health.
Health Benefits of Lentils
1. Regular Lentil Consumption Promotes A Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnancy is not all smooth sailing, especially if the mother in unaware or unable to meet nutritional requirements. One of the most important nutrients during pregnancy is folic acid, which ensures healthy brain development and avoids neural tube defects. In addition, women who supplement/ consume enough folic acid throughout their pregnancy are unlikely to have premature deliveries, and also prevents development of spina bifida.
2. Lentils May Boost Energy Levels
One cause of chronically poor energy levels is low blood iron, since it forms an essential part of hemoglobin, hemoglobin helps red blood cells to properly oxygenate and offset lethargy caused as a result of poor oxygenation. Women in particular have higher iron requirements than men, making lentils an excellent and affordable non-heme iron source. Non-heme iron is also the preferred type in vegans, and supplies more than 30% of your required daily intake.
3. Lentils Promote Intestinal Regularity
If you suffer from constipation regularly, lentils can once again offer you support. Regular consumption of lentils helps promote regularity, as the fiber contained within them helps bulk waste and also prevents excessive water resorption in the colon. As water is reabsorbed, feces becomes more and more compact, making it more difficult to expel. Seeing that nowadays the average person doesn’t get enough fiber in their diet, lentils can prove itself to be a tasty option.
4. Lentils Are Useful For Weight Loss
Ask any expert what the recipe for weight loss is and you will be told restricting your calories and eating highly nutritious food. Lentils are extremely suited for this purpose as a one cup size contains just 230 calories, yet is extremely filling to consume. Plus, thanks to the presence of fiber and protein, appetite is basically blunted for hours. Say goodbye to pesky cravings that tend to derail even the most dedicated dieters.
5. Lentils Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Poor quality food is everywhere, but luckily good foods aren’t that far away. Lentils are an excellent option for blood sugar control, as they do not contain simple fast digesting carbohydrates, but contain slower digesting varieties. This, along with high fiber content retards the rate at which sugar enters the blood stream, and allows for an ideal scenario. What is this scenario you ask? By allowing only a bit of sugar to enter the bloodstream at once, insulin has a better chance of doing work the correct way, and actually shuttling the glucose into muscle and liver cells, as opposed to fat. Plus, more calories from carbohydrates are likely to be burned as fuel, helping prevent spillover from excess intake.
6. Lentils Help Buffer The Effects Of Free Radicals
Free radicals are compounds that are missing an electron, and are actively seeking ways to become stable. However, this doesn’t always happen, and instead the result is damage to numerous cells in its quest to become inert. This is why anti-oxidants are essential in your diet. Basically, anti-oxidants have a way of donating one of these electrons to the free radical, allowing it to calm down and be eliminated from the body. Manganese found in lentils play an important part in the formation of a powerful natural anti-oxidant possessed by the body named manganese superoxide dismutase.
7. Lentils May Help Prevent Cancer
A large aspect of cancer is believed to be associated with generated free radical damage, which explains why diets rich in natural anti-oxidants, such as the vegan diet, tend to have less reported cancer diagnoses made. While lentils have lots of different anti-oxidants, they also contain small amounts of the mineral selenium, which plays a unique role in prevention of cancer. For example, selenium suppresses the rate at which tumors can grow, sometimes stalling it so that the immune system can naturally get rid of it. Selenium also enhances the detoxification potential of the liver, bolstering removal of some cancer promoting compounds in the process. As selenium is not often food in foods, lentils should become an important part of your diet.
8. Can Lower Cholesterol
By nature, lentils are extremely health, being low in fat and virtually devoid of sugars, while being high in fiber. This makes the food extremely heart healthy, but lentils may also help reduce cholesterol levels that are already high. Many cholesterol medications work to block an enzyme that is involved in the production of cholesterol, but they are notorious for their numerous health effects. Copper, a mineral found in legumes, possesses the same action, but is typically very safe at normal consumption levels. We do not expect it to miraculously lower your cholesterol by multiple digits every week, but consistent consumption should yield an improved profile over time.
9. Decrease Risk Of Heart Disease
All factors aside, there is still one measurement that could indicate a high risk of heart disease, even if you are relatively safe in your typical priority numbers. That measurement, is your homocysteine level, which raises your risk of blood vessels clots and emboli several factors, increasing risk of stroke and heart attacks. Homocysteine is an amino acid produced naturally by the body, but becomes accumulated following deficiency in the B vitamins, but especially folic acid. Lentils contain more than enough folic acid and other B-vitamins, which promote breakdown of homocysteine.
10. Helps Maintain An Ideal Blood Tonicity
Blood tonicity is a measure of the electrolytes found in it, being composed primarily of sodium and potassium concentration. Typically, we consume much more sodium than is recommended, while simultaneously not getting enough potassium in. this paves this way for blood chemistry disturbances, manifested as ill-timed muscle cramps, and general poor conduction in nerves. Potassium helps offset such a scenario, as it helps boost sodium excretion and rebalance the equilibrium state of blood and fluids.
11. Lentils Can Prevent Blood Vessel Atherosclerosis
This is the accumulation of plaque on blood vessel walls, which is a major contributing factor to heart disease and stroke. Lentils, thanks to their high level of fiber and anti-oxidants, prevent this oxidative process from occurring, and inhibits adherence of the thick plaques to the blood vessel walls. Atherosclerosis is known to have a strong inflammatory link.
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