All You Need To Know About Lentils And Their Benefits

All You Need To Know About Lentils And Their Benefits
Pushkar Garg
Aug 8, 2019
Updated On Aug 8, 2019 18:51

 

Looking for foods with fewer calories and more protein? Lentils may be just the answer. Several studies across the world have proved that lentils have unmatched benefits. It’s a good thing that they form a major part of the Indian diet already.

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What are lentils?

Edible seeds of legumes are known as Lentils. They are one of the best sources of soluble proteins that regulate the body's pH levels and promote a healthy gut. Rich in Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, and Vitamin B, lentils are extremely healthy and great alternatives for meat since 1/4th parts are made up of protein. Regular consumption of lentils improves sugar levels in the blood, immunity, promotes a healthy mind, and fights diabetes, insulin obstruction, and hypoglycemia. For vegetarians, lentils are great sources of Iron.

Types of Lentils

1.   Brown Lentils

Brown Lentils

Brown is the most common type of lentils consumed across the globe. They are low in calories, rich in iron and folates, and an excellent source of protein. Brown lentils exude an earthy flavor when used in soups. Brown lentils can be cooked within 20-30 minutes and are good for more mushy dishes as they break down completely.

2.   Green Lentils 

Green Lentils

Just like their brown counterparts, they are quite common and have a mild peppery flavor. They have the longest cooking time of 40 minutes owing to their hard structure. Green lentil salads are quite common and equally nourishing.

3.   Red Lentils

Red Lentils

Red lentils can be identified easily; orange-colored lentils are also classified under this type. They are commonly found in Indian dals. You can cook red lentils within 20 minutes – when they break down and become mushy. They taste exquisite when served with rice or bread.

4.   Yellow Lentils

Yellow Lentils

Yellow lentils are fundamentally the same as red lentils. They are soft, sweet, nutty, and can be cooked in just 15 minutes. They are quite nutritious and issue the sweetest aromas.

5.   Black Lentils

Black Lentils

Also known as Beluga lentils, black lentils are dark in color and resemble Beluga caviar. By far, they are the most flavorful lentils and they are not as common as others previously mentioned. They are nearly spherical in shape, small and may be mistaken for their brown counterparts. Their distinguishing characteristic is the thicker skin. The duration to cook them depends on the texture you prefer. They make for extraordinary side dishes with fish or chicken.

Benefits of Lentils

Fight Cancer

Lentils are full of fiber that helps in avoiding the risk of colorectal and prostate cancer. Lentils contain high amounts of selenium that acts against tumors, inflammation, and facilitates the production of T-cells that improves immune response. Additionally, it improves the enzyme function of your liver leading to the detoxification of cancer-causing compounds.

Balance Blood Sugar

High contents of protein and fiber in lentils help in maintaining blood glucose levels after meals. Polyphenols present in them regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, the proteins help the kidneys in flushing out excessive amounts of glucose. Fiber moderates food processing which leads to proper regulation of insulin.

Reduce weight

Unlike most foods, lentils contain almost no fats and lots of fiber. These ingredients regulate stools, which aid in weight reduction. Moreover, fibers fill you up and decrease your cravings for extra food throughout the day. The best thing is that you can have lentils for any meal during the day.

Improve Digestion

Another benefit that is associated with the fiber-rich property of lentils. Fiber eliminates constipation and ensures proper bowel movements. It also improves the absorption of water in the digestive tract, which helps in expelling waste out of the body. Lentils help relieve symptoms of IBS, diarrhea, diverticulitis, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

A cup of lentils can fulfill half of the iron requirements of the body in a day. Iron is essential for the functions of red blood cells that transport oxygen to the different parts of the body.

Healthy Heart

Lentils are rich in folates that prevent the accumulation of homocysteine levels in the body that lead to heart disease. Since lentils help decrease weight and keep sugar levels steady, they prevent several heart diseases. They fight free radicals that lead to atherosclerosis and bring down cholesterol levels.

How are lentils helpful for the body?

Fiber, folic acid, and potassium in lentils are good for the heart’s wellbeing. Lentils consist of basic nutrients and minerals found in meats excluding their ill effects. 

Do lentils make you fat?

Lentils are wealthy in complex starches – supplements that improve digestion and facilitate the burning of fat. Lentils decrease cholesterol levels and keep you healthy.

Are lentils superfoods?

Lentils are viewed as one of the healthiest foods because of their contents – polyphenols, minerals, fiber, and many other nutrients.

Are lentils better than rice?

Lentils contain higher measures of insoluble fiber, whereas rice contains soluble fibers. Both have their benefits and eating the two in moderate quantities fulfills your bodily needs.

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