Lentils health benefits and nutrition


Lentils are a type of legumes that are related to beans, peanuts and dried peas (those that have been split) but they are not as sweet as them. It is believed that their origin is in the Near East (India) and is likely to be among the first crops domesticated there. Today, they are grown in most parts of the world and have a variety colors (green, brown and black).

Benefits of Lentils

Lentils are very nutritious and their protein content is very high (26%). Aside from that, they also have many minerals and vitamins i.e. calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous as well as vitamins B9, B1, C & E.

Prevents cancer

Lentils are very rich in a certain class of antioxidants referred to as flavones (also found in peas). This antioxidant plays a big role in reducing the risk breast cancer according to studies that were conducted at Harvard School of Public Health. This has not been confirmed though.

Prevents cardiovascular disease

As mentioned earlier, lentils are rich in fiber that is responsible for the prevention of coronary diseases. This is because fiber reduces cholesterol levels in the blood thus lowering the amount of plaque deposited on arterial wall. This reduces the risks of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

The folic acid and magnesium present in lentils are also responsible for the health of your heart. Magnesium ensures that there is smooth blood flow allowing more oxygen & nutrients to easily be carried to the body organs. Folic acid on the other hand lowers homocysteine levels on the heart and the arteriole wall which would otherwise be dangerous.

Improves digestion

Lentils help to improve digestion thus preventing constipation and other digestion related problems. They also help in both the treatment and the prevention of diverticulosis (a condition that affects the colon wall i.e. formation of small pouches resulting from straining).

Reduces cholesterol

Dark lentils
This is possible due to a soluble fiber which is found in lentils. This is because the fiber binds the low density lipoprotein hence lowering the level of cholesterol. In addition, it has also been proven that lentils lower the manufacture of cholesterol by the liver thus reducing it in the body.

Helps in reducing weight

The insoluble fiber in the lentils is indigestible and consequently, passes through the body intact and therefore, it provides fewer calories. The fiber rich food will fill the digestive tract than other foods and therefore people will eat less thus getting rid of the excess weight.

Regulates blood sugar levels

This is the work of the soluble fiber that is also responsible for reducing cholesterol and it does so by trapping carbohydrates. The digestion and the absorption of these nutrients will therefore be slowed thus reducing any possibility of the wide swings in the blood.

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