The best thing about lentils is, they can really fill you up and curb your appitite.
Benefits of lentils are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Yet this fiber is soluble, meaning it is the perfect food source to help keep you regular and give you a healthy digestive system.
If you are a vegetarian or don’t eat a lot of red meat, the benefits of lentils offer you a good source of protein and iron.
Lentils have a low glycemic index, once consumed they release energy slowly over a long period of time, you will also feel fuller for longer which makes them great for helping you lose weight.
They also contain no cholesterol, are low in calories and very low in saturated fat, are available all year round and can be bought fresh, in cans or frozen.
You can buy lentils in different forms, split or whole, skins or no skins.
TYPES OF LENTILS
There are about 20 different varieties of lentils.
They come in a variety of colors, red, orange, brown, black or green. Each color of lentil has its own distinct taste, I personally think red lentils are the yummiest of all the colors.
Brown lentils are great in soups, although if they are cooked too long they can get mushy.
French green lentils (Puy lentils) usually remain firm when cooked and are full of flavour.
Yellow lentils are popular in india, and often used in soups or ground into flour.
Green lentils usually remain firm when cooked as well.
Red lentils (split red lentils) are great in soups or help thicken a stew and don’t take long to cook.
Black lentils (Beluga lentils) are delicate and small and good in salads or soups.
White lentils are black with skins removed, the same with red and yellow lentils, these are green lentils with skins removed, although in the process some of their health benefits are removed too.
They are great to use instead of dry beans, as they don’t need soaking or take long to cook. Always cook them, don’t eat them raw.
Lentils are seeds of a plant and grow in pods, their history can be traced back to 10,000 BC.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF LENTILS
- good for digestion
- help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day (good for diabetes)
- reduce bad cholesterol levels
- healthy functioning of nervous system
- help prevent cancer
- reduce risk of heart disease
- relieve constipation
- may help prevent irritable bowl syndrome (IBS)
- strengthen immune system
- great looking younger food
A great source of B vitamins, niacin vitamin B3, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin C.
One important vitamin lentils is deficient in is vitamin B12, which is found in dairy products and meat. If you don’t consume either of these food groups, then you would be better off taking it in supplement form.
If you suffer from inflammation of the joints, then you should not consume large amounts of lentils. They contain an organic compound called purins, which causes uric acid salt deposition in the joints.
Lentils can be used in so many recipes, you can make lentil burgers, soups, salads the list is endless. Just google lentils recipes and you will find many ways to include this wonderful food into your diet.
I love making lentil soup, it is easy to make and very nutritious.
Image courtesy of ‘Wikipedia’ Justinc’