Lentils Health Benefits: All About Lentis and Why They Are Good for You
On a vegan diet, one is always looking for plant-based food sources that are not only delicious and easy to source, but also have a high nutritional value and a multitude of health benefits at the same time. When it comes to lentils, one could say that they are a vegan’s best friend, for many reasons, including their versatility, taste, and of course the number of advantages they offer. However, in saying this, lentils are food that is most commonly overlooked and perhaps quite misunderstood, however, there are huge benefits to eating lentils every day and many delicious recipes that one can make with the ingredients in order to nourish your body from the inside out.
What Are Lentils?
Since this article is all about lentils it would be a good start to understanding what they actually are and where they come from. Lentils are actually edible seeds from the legume family and are most known for their unique circular shape. Lentils originated from Asia and North Africa where they are considered to be a staple food in both cuisines, however, nowadays they are imported and sold all over the world. Interestingly enough there are actually a variety of different kinds of lentils that possess different qualities and flavors, the most common types of lentils include:
Brown lentils are the most common type of lentils and are the ones included in many traditional dishes. They have a very specific earth flavor and hold their shape when cooked for long periods of time.
Puy lentils originate from French cuisine and are much smaller, with a slightly peppery taste to them.
Green lentils have a similar appearance to Puy lentils but are bigger and come in a range of different sizes. They are also a lot cheaper, but give the same sort of flavor in recipes.
Yellow and Red
Two other commonly eaten types of lentils are the yellow and red ones. They are split lentils meaning they cook relatively quickly and are great for making traditional Indian dishes such as dahl.
Beluga lentils are black and tiny, almost resembling caviar. They are a great base and are most often used in making warm salads and Buddha bowls.
But which lentils are the healthiest? The award has to go to black lentils or beluga lentils for their insane amount of protein and potassium, however, these are rare and are often not cooked with. Nonetheless all types of lentils are extremely healthy and add great nutrients to our bodies.
Why Are Lentils Good for You?
There are many reasons as to why lentils have received the reputation that they have, however, this is mostly due to their nutritional benefits and added advantages they give to one’s overall health. The one great thing about lentils that often go unnoticed is that they are a very inexpensive way of getting a wide range of nutrients in just one serving. They also act as a great base for a variety of different meals and can easily replace starchy carbohydrates for those looking to either lose weight or gain muscle.
Lentils Nutrition Info
To truly understand the health benefits of lentils let’s take a deeper look into its nutritional information as per the calories in lentils. It really the amount of protein in lentils that give it an added advantage above most other legume sources. They are made up of 25 percent protein which is the same amount found in many types of meat, chicken, and even fish sources of protein, making them a great and highly effective meat substitute. But what about how many carbs are in lentils? Well, amazingly enough, lentils have a great mixture of both, meaning you can get a high amount of protein and a sufficient amount of carbs in just one serving of the legume as there are about 40 grams of carbohydrates per serving of lentils. The other nutritional information that can be found in lentils includes:
As well as these basic nutrients, lentils also contain some very important vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron, folate, niacin, phosphorus, and potassium, which are all vital for maintaining a healthy body and a strong immune system.
What Are Lentils Good For?
The health benefits of lentils are why people truly choose to include them in their diet on a regular basis and have essentially become is a staple ingredient in many vegans’ diets and lifestyles. Some of the many health benefits of eating lentils include:
Lentils are high in fiber, meaning they can help support bowel movements, keep you regular and avoid congested stomach problems. They also support the growth of healthy gut bacteria which should lessen the chances of severe stomach pains as well as increase your stool movements and help with weight loss and gut function.
Lentils are rich in the phytochemicals known as polyphenols which are known to have strong antioxidant qualities and are anti-inflammatory effects, meaning that they can help with infection and contracting illnesses. Polyphenols are also known to improve blood sugar levels and have even been shown effective in lowering the effects of cancer.
Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases
There have been many studies that suggest eating lentils on a regular basis can reduce one’s risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease due to its antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Because lentils are rich in fiber, folate, and potassium, they are great for managing the health of the heart, managing blood pressure, and controlling cholesterol. They are also a great source of iron and vitamin B 1 which helps to keep a steady and upbeat heartbeat.
Lentils Side Effects
So are lentils healthy? Well, yes, we have established that lentils are a great source of protein and contain many vital vitamins and minerals that have a multitude of health benefits for one’s body. Of course, just like any food or food group, everyone reacts differently. Although lentils are enjoyed by many people some people may not find them as beneficial, this could be due to an allergy to the legume or stomach problems which will then struggle to digest the high quantities of phytic acid and minerals such as iron and zinc.
The Bottom Line
You have now understood the answer to “are lentils good for you?” as well as why they are considered to be such an excellent choice of protein for vegans, it’s now time for you to give them a try, experiment in the kitchen, and reap the benefits they have on your body.
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