Lentils: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts & Recipes

Resume: Lentils are edible seeds from the legume group. Lentils, available with or without the outer shell, are a staple food in many parts of Asia and North Africa. Here’s everything you need to know about lentils, their nutritional values, benefits and how to use them in cooking.

Introduction

Lentils are one of the earliest legumes cultivated, so it’s no wonder they’ve become an essential part of our diet. They add a high amount of fiber and protein to our meals. They don’t need to be soaked overnight before cooking. Lentils are incredibly convenient and inexpensive, making them a preferred form of high-quality protein.

Lentils are often characterized by color, which can range from red, green, yellow, brown to black. Each variety of lentils is composed solely of phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Lentil Nutrition Facts

The nutritional values ​​of lentils are often neglected. They are indeed rich in vitamin B complex, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Lentils contain about 25% protein, making them an excellent meat substitute. They are a rich source of iron, a mineral often lacking in vegetarian regimes.

About one cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils generally provides:

  • Calories: 230
  • Carbohydrates: 39.9 grams
  • Protein: 17.9 grams
  • Fiber: 15.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.8 grams
  • folic acid: 90% of the daily reference intake (RDA)
  • Manganese: 49% of the RDI
  • Iron: 37% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 36% of the RDI
  • Copper: 25% of the RDI
  • Thiamine: 22% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 21% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 18% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 17% of the RDI
  • Pantothenic Acid: 13% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 10% of the RDI

Health Benefits of Lentils

Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts & Recipes

1. Digestion and Gut Health

Fiber acts as a bulking agent in the digestive system and creates a feeling of fullness. Lentils are packed with fiber, which aids in easy bowel movements and weight loss. Insoluble dietary fiber found in it helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

2. Antioxidant Properties

Lentils are filled with the goodness of polyphenols. This is a group of health-promoting phytochemicals. The polyphenols, like flavonoids, along with other bioactive compounds, have strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties.

3. Stabilized Blood Sugar Level

The fiber in lentils slows digestion and helps maintain blood sugar levels. Including them in your diet often can help control blood sugar levels in diabetes, hypoglycemia, and insulin resistance, which are commonly seen in PCOS.

4. Healthy Heart

Your overall risk of heart disease is significantly reduced if you consume lentils regularly, as they are known to lower blood pressure. In addition, proteins in lentils interfere with the chemical angiotensin i-converting enzyme (ACE), which commonly causes blood vessel constriction and a rise in your blood pressure.

Because lentils are rich in folic acid, they prevent excessive accumulation of homocysteine ​​(a common amino acid in our blood). You are at higher risk for heart disease if you are obese. They’re also very filling, helping you eat less and stabilizing your blood sugar.

5. Great Protein Source

Since lentils contain about 25% protein, they become an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Although it contains all the essential amino acids, it is limited in methionine and tryptophan. Combining them with whole grains gives you a complete profile of essential amino acids.

Caution: There is a downside to eating lentils in large quantities. They contain lectin, tannins, phytic acid and trypsin inhibitors that can hinder the absorption of important nutrients. The good news is that you can reduce the amount of these agents in your diet. Simply soak the lentils the night before and discard the water used for soaking to get rid of the anti-nutrients.

Healthy Indian Lentil Recipes

#1 Masoor dal tadka

Masoor dal tadka

Masoor ki dal (red lentils) is high in protein.

Nutrition Facts (amount per serving)
calorie intake 247
Total fat 12 grams
Saturated fat 7 grams
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 gram
monounsaturated fat 4 grams
cholesterol 28mg
Sodium 492mg
Potassium 846mg
Total carbohydrates 44 grams
Dietary fiber 20 grams
Sugar 4 grams
Protein 17 grams

Ingredients – Serving 1

  • Masoor ki dal – 1 cup
  • Chopped tomatoes – 1 cup
  • Finely chopped medium onion – 1 cup
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • Dhania Powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Garam masala – 1/4 teaspoon
  • A pinch of hinge
  • Cumin seeds – ¼ teaspoon
  • Red chili without seeds – 1-2
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves for garnish
  • Salt to your taste

Procedure:

  1. Wash the lentils thoroughly and let them soak for 15 minutes. Add the lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of turmeric, 500 ml water to a pressure cooker and wait for 3-4 whistles.
  2. Heat oil in a wok. Then add heng and cumin. Fry the chopped onions until they are golden brown. Then add ginger, garlic paste, remaining spices, chopped tomatoes and cook until the oil leaves the mixture.
  3. Place the cooked dal in the wok and mix well. Pour the dal into a serving bowl.
  4. Temper with ghee, dry red chillies and jeera. Pour it over the valley.
  5. Use coriander leaves for garnish.

#2 Assorted Vegetable Salad With Lentils

Assorted Vegetable Salad With Lentils

A refreshing salad for a quick, tasty yet healthy snack.

Nutrition Facts (amount per serving)
calories 99
Total fat 13.2 grams
Saturated fat 3.5 grams
cholesterol 12.5mg
Sodium 115.4mg
Total carbohydrates 27.7 grams
Dietary fiber 14 grams
Sugar 21.8 grams
Protein 12.7 grams

Ingredients – Serving 1

  • 1 cup mixed salad (tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and other vegetables)
  • ½ cup boiled lentils
  • 1 pitted, sliced ​​apple
  • 1 tbsp crushed feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Procedure:

  1. Add greens, about half of the apple slices, and the feta to lentils.
  2. Drizzle the vinegar and olive oil over the salad.
  3. Serve the salad with the remaining apple slices as a side dish.

#3 Cauliflower lentil curry

Cauliflower-lentil curry

A heart-healthy, gluten-free curry.

Nutrition Facts (amount per serving)
calorie intake 177
Total fat 4.8 grams
Saturated fat 0.5 grams
Total carbohydrates 27.5 grams
Dietary fiber 9.6 grams
Sugar 7.2 grams
Protein 9.7 grams

Ingredients – Serving 1

  • ½ cup rinsed lentils
  • 1 chopped onion (small)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • Salt (to your taste)
  • 4 pitted and chopped ripe tomatoes rijp
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp ginger, fresh and crushed
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, halved

Procedure:

  1. Add lentils, curry powder, salt, turmeric, fried onions to a saucepan and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes.
  2. After the lentils are mushy and the sauce is thick, add tomatoes, cauliflower florets, and jalapeno peppers. Cook until the cauliflower becomes soft.
  3. Take another skillet and add cumin, ginger and garlic and stir until garlic turns golden brown.
  4. Stir in the pepper and add the oil-spice mixture to the pan with the cauliflower mixture.
  5. Mix lemon juice, brown sugar and coriander. Serve with plain steamed rice.

Conclusion

It’s hard to imagine our Indian cuisine without the mighty lentils. Brown, green, yellow, red or black – lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and have an excellent taste. Lentils are packed with vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron and potassium.

References:

  1. healthline.com
  2. Findanyanswer.com
  3. Eatingwell.com – mixed vegetables with lentils and sliced ​​apple
  4. Eatingwell.com – Cauliflower and Red Lentil Curry

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How are lentils different from beans or peas?

A. They cook faster than beans or peas because of their smaller size. They don’t need to soak overnight before cooking. Lentils are readily available and inexpensive, making them a highly preferred form of protein.

Q. How do I limit antinutrients from my diet when using lentils?

A. Lentils contain antinutrients that can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients. You must soak the lentils before cooking and discard the water used for soaking and washing. This step will help reduce these antinutrients.

Q. I am a heart patient. Are lentils good for me?

A. Lentils are good for your heart health. They are rich in health-promoting nutrients that help raise HDL, lower LDL and control your blood pressure.

Q. I want to lose weight. How will adding lentils to my diet help?

A. Lentils are high in fiber, so they help with regular bowel movements and the development of healthy gut bacteria. They control your appetite and keep you from overeating. This helps with weight management.

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