Lentils are some of the most nutritious, and at the same time economical, foods in the world. These legumes that are grown like peas in a pod, and come in a wide array of colors including brown, pink, green and orange. They are widely popular in Eastern Europe, India and in some parts of Asia. Whatever color you choose to eat, you can enjoy the same nutritional lentils that are low in fat, low in calories, and free from cholesterol. Here are the nutritional highlights of lentils.
Lentils are rich sources of protein, folic acid, dietary fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, essential amino acids and trace minerals. A 100 g serving of lentils contains 60 g carbohydrates, 31 g dietary fiber, 1 g fat, 26 g protein, 0.87 mg thiamine, 479 μg of folate and 7.5 mg iron. Among the winter growing legumes, lentils have the highest concentration of antioxidants.
Since lentils are low in fat and high in fiber, they can help get rid of cholesterol and reduce blood cholesterol levels. It sweeps cholesterol from the body to avoid accumulation and buildup that can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. It can also slow down the liver's manufacture of cholesterol.
Improvement for Diabetes
People who suffer from diabetes are advised by doctors to include lentils in their diet. This is because the high amount of soluble fiber in the lentils help trap carbohydrates, which can slow digestion and absorption and help reduce the risks of spikes in the blood sugar levels.
With the high levels of fiber in lentils, they can expedite the detoxification of the body. In simpler terms, they make it easier for the body to get rid of toxins. Moreover, these legumes can also reduce the risk of diverticulosis, a health problem in which pouches form in the walls of the colon due to pressure sustained during bowel movements.
Weight Loss Aid
Still on the fiber found in lentils, these legumes are found to help in weight loss programs. This is because fiber makes people feel full, and they tend to eat less when they include lentils in their diet. Lentils also have few calories, so even if you over-indulge, you don't have to worry about gaining excess weight.
A study has found that a diet high in lentils and peas can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer. This is because of the high levels of flavones found in these legumes. Since breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer today and can account for a large number of fatalities all over the world, including lentils in your diet as a cancer preventive method is always a good idea.