The benefits of lentil nutrition are well documented, yet it is ironic that Americans barely eat them, or beans, or any other legumes. According to a 2002 research, just 8% of Americans eat lentils or beans. Thankfully, more people are starting to embrace this food, given that we cannot afford to let these benefits untapped anymore.
Lentil nutrition has many benefits, including maintenance and improvement of heart health, enhancement of the digestive system, and the support of healthy blood sugar levels.
Fun Fact: Lentils belong to the pulse family. They have been a part of the Eastern cuisine for as long as 13 000 years.
Nutritional Profile of Lentil Nutrition
Lentils are regarded as highly “functional food” because of their rich nutritional value and high fiber content, minerals, polyphenols, and certain bioactive compounds. True, lentils are well known for their fiber and protein levels. Still, their polyphenol content has become the key focus of research, as the compound is proven to play a significant role in preventing degenerative diseases.
A cup – approximately 198 grams – of cooked lentils offers:
- 230 calories
- 39.9 g of carbohydrates
- 17.9 g of protein
- 0.8 g of fat
- 15.6 g of fiber
- 358 micrograms of folate (90% DV)
- 1 mg of manganese (49% DV)
- 6.6 mg of iron (37% DV)
- 356 mg of phosphorus (36% DV)
- 0.5 mg of copper (25% DV)
- 0.3 mg of thiamine (22% DV)
- 731 mg of potassium (21% DV)
- 0.4 mg of vitamin B6 (18% DV)
- 71.3 mg of magnesium (18% DV)
- 2.5 mg of zinc (17% DV)
- 1.3 mg of pantothenic acid (13% DV)
- 2.1 mg of niacin (10% DV)
- 0.1 mg of riboflavin (9% DV)
- 5.5 micrograms of selenium (8% DV)
- 3 mg of vitamin C (5% DV)
As you can see, lentils have so many nutrients and compounds to offer. Just look at what a cup provides you. People who do not eat lentils tend to develop magnesium and iron deficiency. You’re therefore advised to eat these legumes frequently, especially if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.
5 Great Benefits Of Lentil Nutrition
Taking a look at the rich nutritional value of lentils, it is only expected that lentil nutrition offers many impressive benefits to health. Let us take a look at five great contributions of this timeless legume to your health.
Excellent Source Of Fiber
A fiber-dense diet, including many whole plants, is an excellent way to easily fill up the body. Lentils offer both soluble & insoluble fiber, meaning that they expand in the stomach and absorb water when eaten. This will benefit the whole body.
Research proves that plant fiber, especially the type obtained from legumes, can significantly enhance immune function, digestive, metabolic, and heart health because it helps eliminate waste, toxins, and excess fat in the body.
More recent studies have suggested that some of the most healthy peoples on earth are on a Mediterranean diet containing rich volumes of pulses/legumes. Examples of these peoples live in blue zones like Greece & Italy, which is a chief reason behind their considerably better health conditions.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Studies have established that legumes are excellent contributors to heart health, major thanks to their unique fiber type. In several animal models, they have proven useful in preventing heart disease and lowering overall cholesterol levels in the body. According to a 2017 publication in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, lentils are rich in heart-enhancing compounds, especially polyphenols.
More studies have shown that increased consumption of lentils considerably reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases, for example, cancers, obesity, diabetes & cardiovascular illnesses. Also, there is sufficient evidence to establish that lentil-rich diets help prevent hypertension and influence the secretion of good cholesterol in the body.
By maintaining healthy levels of good cholesterol in your body, you reduce the risk of suffering artery damage and prevent the buildup of plaque, thus reducing your risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
May Improve Digestive Function
Lentils are very rich in dietary fiber, and they should thus be an unfailing presence on your diet to support bowel movements. They contain an abundance of insoluble fiber, which absorbs water and swells up the digestive tract and, by doing so, eases the excretion of waste from the digestive tract.
Lentils are effective digestive regulators, potentially preventing symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, IBS, constipation, and diarrhea. You should drink plenty of water when or before eating lentils so that the insoluble fiber has a lot of fluid to absorb.
Alkalizes The Body & Balances PH Level
Lentils are a rich source or alkaline protein, an essential nutrient for balancing PH level & supporting a healthy gut environment in the body. The regular consumption of fried foods or processed foods high in added sugars leads to a bacterial imbalance in the body, a common precursor to various health problems. Only continuous, unrelenting eating of lentils can correct this imbalance.
Lentils will fight the gut’s acidic environment and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. This helps the body absorb more nutrients from foods and is a natural way to prevent indigestion, IBS, constipation & several other illnesses.
A diet rich in alkaline protein from the plant is proven to reduce the risk of specific health problems, such as ulcers, bone loss & kidney stones.
A one-cup serving of lentils contains 15 grams fiber, thus making it one of the most satiating, “stick-to -the-ribs” foods that you will eat. Lentil is rich in fiber and protein, but fortunately low in calories. This means that you feel full even when you eat very little, thus reducing or eliminating the urge to snack unnecessarily or overeat.
A publication in Advances In Nutrition proves that there is a connection between rich pulse consumption & a reduced risk of obesity & improved body weight.
Concluding The Benefits Of Lentil Nutrition
The benefits of lentil nutrition are remarkable, and these aren’t even all. Lentil nutrition also helps regulate blood pressure and sugar levels, enhance immunity & gut health, and is a rich source of plant protein, making it a capable replacement for meat in the vegan or vegetarian diet. Incorporate more lentils into your diet today.