Lentils are not only a great complement to most meals, they are also considered one of the most nutritious foods on earth due to being plentiful in macro and micronutrients as well as bioactive phytochemicals.
Research has found that they may even be promising in the management and prevention of a number of chronic illnesses.
Here is a look at just five of the reasons this superfood should be a part of your diet.
Studies have shown that a healthy diet that includes legumes can help manage diabetes symptoms and reduce dosages of blood sugar lowering medications (though, as always, consult your health practitioner before altering any medications you have been prescribed). Researchers from Toronto, Canada found that legume eaters experienced a greater reduction in hemoglobin A1c values, a marker of average blood sugar, as compared to dieters who ate more whole wheat products.
Weight loss and protein content
In the same study, it was found that those who included legumes in their diet lost more weight as compared to wheat eaters. A cup of lentils has the ability to satisfy while being relatively low in calories and packed with essential nutrients.
Because lentils are high in protein, this adds an additional benefit to boost weight loss as foods rich in protein are known to keep one feeling fuller longer. Protein is also essential for building lean muscle which can help to increase the metabolism as well as provide more strength for cardio activities and weight training. Of all legumes and nuts, lentils rank as the third-highest when it comes to protein, making them an important source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
Supporting heart health
Research has also found that those who eat lentils on a regular basis have a reduced risk for developing heart disease due to their high fiber content. They are also packed with folate and magnesium; folate helps to lower the body’s homocysteine level which is known to be a serious risk factor for heart disease, while magnesium helps to improve blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Lowering cancer risk
Scientists from the Harvard School of Health found that women who ate lentils at least twice a week were 24% less likely to develop breast cancer than women who ate them less than once a month. Lentils have also been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer.
Lentils can increase energy levels by replenishing iron which helps to transport oxygen throughout your body, improving your metabolism. They are also able to provide steady, slow-burning energy due to their fiber and complex carbohydrate content.
If you’d like to add more lentils to your diet, it’s fairly easy. They make a great substitute (or just try as a partial substitute) for ground beef in most recipes, including soups and chili, or can be added to most salads.
How will you have your lentils today?
-The Alternative Daily