The Humble Lentil Is Not So Humble In Nutrition
Lentils may not be everyone’s idea of a tasty meal, and let’s face it, they’re neither fancy nor exciting to look at. However plain they may seem to be, lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition and have loads of health benefits tied to them. While Asians are no strangers to lentils, (commonly known to us as dhal), they are actually consumed in many other parts of the world where some communities depend on it to survive.
There are many ways to cook and serve lentils – they can be made into curries, added into salads, made into cakes, etc. Whichever way you look at it, adding lentils into your daily diet is a good idea for it’s cheap, easily available and versatile! Here are some notable health benefits to expect from lentils.
1. Fibre is important for gut health and lentils are packed with them. Being so, lentils can also help lower blood cholesterol, since it helps prevent your digestive tract from absorbing the waxy, fat-like substance.
2. A superb source of folate, a B-vitamin that helps support red blood cell formation and proper nerve functions. Pregnant women need this nutrient to help prevent neural tube defects in their babies.
3. Vegetarians and vegans will be glad to know that lentils are just as good as a glass of milk for their calcium needs. A cup packs 38grams of calcium!
4. It’s rich in protein, whereby one cup of lentils will deliver the same amount of protein as three ounces of salmon – vegans, rejoice!
5. A magnesium-rich food – A cup of lentils has 71 mg of magnesium (your goal: around 310 to 320 mg per day), per the USDA, a nutrient that improves blood flow and oxygen in the body. Low magnesium levels can make you feel numbness or tingling, flu-like symptoms, and can even put you at higher risk for a seizure or heart issues.
6. Lentils are the cheapest source of non-heme iron. Iron is essential to help pump oxygen throughout your body and prevent iron-deficient anemia.
7. Polyphenols for protection – Polyphenols is protects the body from ultraviolet rays, radiation, osteoporosis, heart disease, etc, and lentils are rich in the compound!