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Lentil Vegetable Health Benefits

Lentil is a bushy annual plant of the legume family eaten as a vegetable. They are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron.

 

Several studies have shown that eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces your 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.

 

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 hypoglycaemia.

 

Cooked lentils provide 18 grams of protein per cup, with less than 1 gram of fat, negligible saturated fat and no cholesterol.

 

When compared to beef, poultry and fish, all of which are good sources of protein but contain much higher amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol.

 

A cup of lentils provides 87 percent of the iron men need daily and 38 percent of the amount a woman needs.

 

The body uses iron to produce red blood cells and adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

 

People who are deficient in iron may develop anaemia or neurological problems like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

 

The iron in plant-based foods like lentils is nonheme iron, a form of iron that is not absorbed as easily as the heme iron in meat, poultry and fish.

 

You can increase the amount of iron you get from lentils by eating the legumes with meat or with a rich source of vitamin C.

 

Lentils contain more of this important B vitamin than any other unfortified plant food.

 

While lentils share many health benefits with their legume cousins, they gain a distinct edge when it comes to preparation: Lentils need no pre-soaking, and they cook in less than an hour (in some cases, under 30 minutes).

 

Of all the kinds available, red lentils cook the fastest, because they are sold with their hulls removed.

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