Nutrition, Benefits, Side Effects & How To Cook

Lentils are one of the best sources of plant protein. They are very nutritious and an inexpensive source of Calories, Sodium, Potassium, Carbohydrates, Zinc, Dietary Fibres, Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin B6 with less than 1% Fat. They are an excellent choice for vegetarians and for other who are willing to add more protein in their diet.

Lentils are famous all over the world and mostly found on middle-eastern, south-Asian and north-American cuisines. The taste of lentil depends on their type. The red lentils tasted sweet, the brown lentils taste earthy and the green lentils tastes kind of peppery. They are ridiculously available and affordable as a strong protein source.

They cultivated lentils throughout the Asia, America, Europe. Farmers cultivate them in sandy-loamy soil. They grow on 18-24-inch-tall branched vines. They grow the seeds in pods and there are 2 seeds in per pod.

Must Know Facts about Lentils:

  • Lentils is the oldest pulse known to man and one of the earliest domesticated crops. We also found their traces 8000 BC in the banks of Euphrates and 6000 BC in Greece. Their traces were visible from 13000 BC.
  • The Scientific name of Lentil is Lens culinaris. They are from the family Fabaceae, which is the 3rd largest plant family that has over nearly 20,000 species of trees, vines, shrubs and herbs.
  • In India, Pakistan And Bangladesh, we know lentils as Daal or Dal.
  • Lentils were poor man’s meat. Because the poor men could not buy fish or meat, they ate lentils instead as a source of protein. Lentils were very plenty and cheap.
  • In Judaism, Lentils are regarded as the food of mourners. According to them, the round shape of lentils symbolises their circle of life.
  • Brown Lentils are the common Lentil in the world

Top 10 Health Benefits of Lentils:

Presenting the long list of health Benefits of eating Lentils:

  1. They are good for your eyes:

Lentils contains a good amount of Zinc and Bioflavonoids which protect your retina from the damage of light. It also prevents developing of cataracts in your eye and prevents age – related degeneration.

  • They are good for your skin:

Lentils are packed with calcium, iron, vitamin B6 which is good for your skin. They prevent acne, rough skins and even signs of ageing. The red lentils are also often used as a facial product by females to make their skins more attractive.

  • Can Lower Cholesterol:

A good amount of Zinc available in lentils which helps the heart to squeeze and pump the blood. It also helps to maintain nerve signals and movement of muscles and various other activities inside the body. By nature, lentils are extremely healthy, low in fat and virtually sugar-free, while high in fibre. This makes food extremely healthy, but lentils can help reduce cholesterol levels that are already high. Many cholesterol drugs act by blocking an enzyme that is involved in the production of cholesterol, but they are notorious for their many health effects. Copper, a mineral found in legumes, possesses the same action, but is very safe at normal consumption levels. We do not expect this to reduce your cholesterol by several points each week, but frequent consumption should give a better profile.

  • They are important for cell and boost energy:

Lentils contains folate. We also known folate as a natural form of Vitamin B9 and folic acid. Folate helps us for cell and DNA production and growth. Vitamin B9 is also water soluble, which means the body can not store it. Lentils are also filled with iron. One cup of lentils provides about 87 percent of the recommended daily iron intake for men and 38 percent for a woman. It is especially important for women to menstruate to replenish their iron stores as they are more prone to iron deficiency.

Iron is an essential part of haemoglobin and of the energy-producing enzyme system. People who suffer from iron deficiency may develop neurological problems, anaemia, fatigue, and more.

  • Prevent cancer:

Lentils contains a plenty number of plant compound known as the phytochemical which has anti-cancer properties which lowers the risk of colon cancer and also helps to eliminate cancer cells and prevents them from dividing in rare cases. Researchers believe a major aspect of cancer to be associated with the resulting free radical damage, which explains why diets enriched with natural anti-oxidants, such as vegetarian diets, diagnose less well-known cancers. While lentils contain many anti-oxidants, they also contain a small amount of the mineral selenium, which plays a unique role in preventing cancer. For example, selenium suppresses the rate at which a tumour can grow, sometimes stopping it so that the immune system can naturally get rid of it. Selenium also increases the detoxification capacity of the liver, in the process removing some cancer-promoting compounds. As selenium is rare in foods, lentils should become an important part of your diet.

  • Good for Heart:

All factors aside, is still a measurement that may show a high risk of heart disease, even if you are relatively safe at your specific priority number. This measurement is your homocysteine ​​level, which increases the risk of clots in your blood vessels. It gives rise to many factors, increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack. Homocysteine ​​is an amino acid produced naturally by the body, but accumulates after a deficiency in B vitamins, but especially folic acid. Lentils contain more than enough folic acid and other B-vitamins, which promote the breakdown of homocysteine.

  • Good for your hair:

Lentils contain a good amount of Zinc and iron. Zinc and iron are important for your hair growth cycle. They also help to repair damaged hair and prevents hair from getting damage in the future. They also act as nutrients to the hair.

  • They are good for diabetes:

Lentils are a great food for diabetes. The sugar starch present in lentils are absorbed by the bloodstream slowly, as a result blood sugar spike is not found. The fibres present in lentils also help in adjusting and stabilising blood sugar level.

  • Helps to reduce Weight:

Ask any expert what is the recipe for weight loss and they will ask you to limit your calories and eat highly nutritious food. Lentils are highly suited for this purpose because a cup has only 230 calories in size, yet is extremely essential to consumption. Also, thanks to fibre and protein, hunger basically thrives for hours. Say goodbye to pesky cravings that derail even the most dedicated dieters.

  1. Rich in Fibre:

Suppose you cook a portion of lentils yourself. One cup of this small fruit contains about 16 grams of fibre. This means that with just one meal, you can get about 63 percent of the recommended daily allowance of fibre. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, adequate intake of dietary fibre is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. Most Americans do not consume the recommended amount of fibre. And it is easy to understand why. The standard American diet is largely based on refined flour foods that are not an ideal source of fibre. Pulses are a powerhouse of dietary fibre.

Nutrition: Per 100 grams of fresh Lentils:

State: Boiled

Calories – 116

Potassium – 389 mg

Carbohydrates – 20 g

Dietary fibre – 8 g

Sugar – 1.8 g

Protein – 9 g

Calcium – 1%

Iron – 18 %

Vitamin B-6 – 10 %

Magnesium – 9 %

Types of Lentils:

There are 5 general types of lentils.

Brown Lentils: Brown lentils are the most common lentils in the world, the main two types of colour of Brown lentils are Brown and Dark-Brown. They are earthy in flavour and they need to be cooked minimum 30 minutes before serving.

Red lentils: Red lentils are common through middle East and Asia. They are sweet in taste because of their carbohydrates. They are orange and mild red in colour. Red lentils are mostly used to make soups in Asia. They get a yellow and golden colour after being cooked.

Green Lentils- Green lentils are common throughout European cooking. They maintain a peppery and nutty taste. We use them in salads and in side dishes in European cuisines.

Puy Green lentils: many people voted them as the best lentils. We also known it as Le Puy Green Lentils. They are grown and sold in U.S as French lentils. They maintain e peppery taste like green lentils, and they can hold their texture better than any other lentils.

Black Lentils: According to study, they are the most nutritious variety of lentils. Black Lentils need to be cooked for minimum 20 minutes before serving. They are also not common as other varieties. It grows mostly them in South Asia because of the suitable weather, soil and fertility of soil.

Risk of Consuming Too Much Lentils:

Lentils are hard to breakdown which causes gastric. Lentils contain complex sugars like oligosaccharides that our body cannot digest due to lack of the enzymes like alpha-galactosidase and others. And thus, due to lack of alpha-galactosidase and other enzymes, it becomes hard for our body to digest complex sugars like oligosaccharides and therefore causing intestinal comfort because of gasses, this is not dangerous but an unpleasant situation and it sometimes also cause pain. Lentils have lots of benefits but also have unpleasant side effects.

So, lentils should be consumed in a proper amount.

Best way to Eat Lentils:

To me, the best way to eat Lentils is to make Lentil soup. It is simple and time saving. You need little preparations to make one.

Here are a Few Ways to Eat Lentils:

  • Lentil soup: The red lentils are washed and then cooked with pressure with the required amount of water until the first whistle, then the mixture is stirred with a stick and then comes the time to add coriander, turmeric, garlic and onion, tomatoes, green chili and red chilies and served in a bowl.
  • Lentil Curry: They are very easy to make. First, we need red lentils and prepare and cook it normally. Then rice is cooked and soaked in coconut milk to make it coconut rice and then the cooked lentil are served on the coconut rice. It will give an excellent sweet taste of coconut rice and lentils together.
  • Lentil Nacho: Lentil Nachos can be a great evening supper. They are very easy to make. The key ingredient of this recipe is brown lentils. Brown Lentils boiled and cooked and then served with tomatoes, sliced onions, chili, pepper, cheese. Then the garlic paste and mashed potato pasted and sugar beets are added on top.

Frequently Asked Question about Lentils:

Question: Is it OK to reheat lentils?

Answer: Yes, they are fine to reheat

Question: Do I need to soak lentils to eat them?

Answer: Lentils don’t require soaking, just rinse them to remove remote particles

Question: Can I eat lentils raw?

Answer: This is not a very smart choice because legumes like lentils (not all of them) contain a toxic substance called lectin in a raw state.

Question: How many calories can I get from boiled lentils?

Answer: Boiled lentils contains 140 calories per 100 grams.